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THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 

GIFT OF 
WILLIAM A. NITZE 



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I ^xi 



THE ORIGIN 



OF 



PAGAN IDOLATRY. 



Fag. Idol. \oh. 11. 






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To thelii,q/ii A'n'.' TIJOAL^S BITRCrESS DJ). I.OBD lUSHOF of S-'-J)AVJJ )X , 
thus I'latf u' lYAjitrU'ully iiisciHieJ hy /lis ,ihlitn'>l liiiinhl< SitviuiJ 



THE .lUTHvR . 



liMuhal Fef 1 1316 .,.. iju Aa dittcu hrFCMndJltii'iiuiionJ^hiuU i7iur,-hy,ird,LoruUm 



THE 

ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY 

ASCERTAINED FROM 

HISTORICAL TESTIMONY 

AND 

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE. 



BY GEORGE STANLEY FABER, B. D. 

RECTOR OF LONG-NEWTON. 



Every reasonable Hj'pothesis should be supported on a fact. 

Warduiiton's Div. Leg. vol. v. p. 433. 



THREE VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



lontion; 

Printed by A. J. Valpy, Tooke's Court, Chancaj^ Lane, 
FOR F. AND C. RIVINGTONS ; 

ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YARD. 
1816. 






V. /2. 



^B.R AT A. 





VOLUME 11. 


Page 


Line 


xviii. 


2. For 388 read 391 


4.. 


3 from bottom. For inclined read inclined 


6. 


1 note. For sect. xiii. read § XIII. 


11. 


last line. Tor politics read polities 


42. 


1 note. For Stanly's read Stanley^s 


46. 


1 note. Add 3 before Suid 


48. 


17. For Ilu read Hu 


59. 


12. For Maz ndran read Mazendran 


78. 


1 3. For prince of read prince in 


89. 


7. For Oshen read Oschen 


92. 


18. For Helios read He/nw 


125. 


9. For Amrecta read Amrita 


126. 


18. For Amreettt read Amrita 


142. 


1 note. Add 3 before Herrer 


164. 


4. For nre read f« 


258. 


3 note. Insert i. after lib. 


269. 


3 from bottom. For Di-Youi read Di-Vo/ii 


359. 


15. For 3 read 2 




20. For 4 read 3 


360. 


15. For 5 read 2 


364. 


24. For 77ia» read Man 


391. 


3. Add 2 before The classical 


4&1'. 


26. For Chryson read Chrysor 


408. 


13. For_^ n read^/ic/ 




14. For Trf/iiw read Thus 


413. 


4 note. For Hieroz. read Hierog. 


427. 


17. For Je read Ce 



9 






CONTENTS. 



BOOK TIL 



CHAPTER I. 



Respecting the fable of the four ages 



PAOE 



Thk four ages are indifferently reckoned from the creation and the deluge ; 

the golden age being that of the great father - - - ib. 

I. The fable itself properly relates to the period between the creation and the 
deluge : but, from certain points of resemblance between the ages of 
i\dam and of Noah, it was also made to relate to the period between the 
deluge and another yet future dissolution of the world - - 4 

\l. Arrangement of the ten postdiluvian generations, and extension of the iron 
age, when it was found that no fresh deluge took place in the tenth 
generation - - - - - - o 

HI. The descriptions of the golden age prove it to have been really the age of 

Paradisiacal innocence - - - - - 1 1 

1 . Traditions of Plato - - - - - ib. 

1. Traditions of Dicearchus - - - - - 13 

3. Traditions of Hesiod and Ovid - - - - 14 

4. Traditions of the Goths - - - - ib. 

5. Traditions of the Hindoos - - - - 15 

6. Traditions of the Jains - - - - Iti 
1\ . Saturn, who flourished in the golden age, must have been Adam. Yet he 



VI CONTENTS. 



PAOE 



was also Noah. Hence, when he was viewed as tlie latter, the golden 

age was placed after the flood - - - - ib. 

1. Exeinphfication of this arrangement in the Hindoo fable - - 17 

2. The same mode of interpretation must be adopted in the fable of the 
Jains - - - - - - 18 

S. The same also m that of Hesiod - - - - 19 

(1.) Discussion of the Argonautic, Trojan, and Theban, epochs - 23 

(2.) Summary of Hesiod's arrangement - - - 31 
The high antiquity of the fable of the four ages may be gathered from 

Scripture - - - - - - 32 



CHAFFER II. 

Miscellaneous traditions relative to the period between the creation 

and the deluge . .... 34 



I. Hindoo traditions relative to Menu and his three sons and to the murder of 

Abel - - - - - - ib. 

II. Parallel traditions relative to the three Cabiri and to the murder of Abel 36 
IH. Parallel traditions of the Atlantians - - - - 37 

IV. Parallel traditions of the Iroquois - - - - 38 

V. Atlantian legend respecting the translation of Enoch - - ib. 

VI. Indian legend respecting the translation of Enoch - - 39 
VH. Atlas, Edris, Idris, Enoch - - - - 40 

1. The character of Enoch melts into that of Noah - - ib. 

2. Mount Atlas and Cader-Idris were each a transcript of the Paradisiacal 
Ararat - - - - - 41 

3. Thoth and Buddha were the same person as Idris - - 42 

4. The character of Enoch melts also into that of Adam - - 44 

5. The translation of Buddha-Sacya - •• - - 45 

6. The translation of Xisuthrus - •-• - - ib. 



CONTENTS. Vn 

PAGE 
7. The legend of Annacus or Nannacus - - - 46 

VIII. The longevity of the antediluvian patriarchs - - - 49 

IX. The number of antediluvian generations - - - 52 



CHAPTER III. 



On the antediluvian and dituvian history, as exhibited in tfie Zend- 
Avesta .-.-_- 58 



I. Sketch of the antediluvian and diluvian history contained in the Zend-Avesta ib. 

II. On the authenticity of the Zend-Avesta and the character of Zeradusht 61 

1. The hypothesis of Dr. Prideaux respecting the Zend-Avesta - 63 

2. His hypothesis respecting Zeradusht - - -70 

III. Remarks on the early history contained in the Zend-Avesta - - 79 
1 . Ahriman with his rebel angels - - - - 80 
Q. The first man-bull is viewed as reappearing in the person of the second ib. 

3. Arg-Roud - - - - - -Si 

4. Mount Albordi - - - - - 82 

5. The first man-bull Aboudad is Adam - - - ib. 

6. The second man-bull Taschter with his three companions is Noah with 

his three sons - - - - - 83 

7. Respecting the astronomical character of Taschter - -84 
(1.) He is declared to be the Sun - - - - ib. 
(2.) But he is also declared to be a remarkable Star - - ib. 

8. Sum of the argument - - - - - 87 

IV. Mythological prayers of the Parsees - - - - ib. 

1. Prayer to the Moon - - - - - ib. 

2. Prayer to the sacred Bull - - - - 88 

V. Remarks on the prayers - - - - - 90 



Vin CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

1. On that to the Moon - - - - - 90 

2. On that to the Bull - - - - - 93 
(1.) The regenerating rain - - - - ib. 
(2.) The diiuvian serpent Ahriinan - - - - 94 
(3.) Mixed character of Oschen - - - - ib. 
(4.) Characters of Oshander-Begha and Osider-Begha mingled with that 

of the Messiah - - - - - 9G 

(5.) Reasons for believing this commixture to have arisen from a know- 
ledge of the ancient Hebrew prophecies before the manifestation 
of Christ - - - - - 98 

(6.) Sentiments of the later Zeradusht respecting the promised future 

deliverer - - - - - 102 

(7.) Tlie river Voorokeschci - - - - 103 

VI. The materials of the Zend-Avestaic history seem to be genuine, though the 

work itself may be a comparatively modern compilation - - 104 



CHAPTER IV. 

Pagati accounts of an universal deluge "• - - 107 



Pagan accounts of the deluge have generally some reference to the creation : 
a circumstance, which originated from the doctrine of an endless succes- 
sion of similar worlds - - - - - ib. 

I. Babylonian account of the deluge from Berosus . - - 108 

II. Syro-Grecian account of the deluge from Lucian - - - 110 

1. Dove and Ark - - - - - 111 

2. DiflFerent places, where Deucalion is said to have landed - ib. 

3. The name of Deucalion known to the Hindoos - - 1 J2 

III. Hindoo accounts of the deluge, more or less literal - - 113 



CONTENTS. ix 

PAGE 

1. Legend of the first Avatar - - - - u^ 

(I.) Form of the fish-god - - - - 116 

(2.) Intercommunion of character between Menu and Vislinou - 117 

(3.) Sleep and night of Brahma - - - - II9 

(4.) Menu constituted the god of obsequies - - - ib. 

(5.) Character of the demon Hayagriva - . . f[|0 

2. Legend of the second Avatar - - - - ib. 
(1.) It relates jointly to the creation and to the flood - - i^i 
(2.) Remarks on the legend - - - . jgS 

3. Legend of the third Avatar - - _ _ J24 
(I.) Paradisiacal water of immortality - - - 227 
(2). Mount Mandar surmounted by the lotos - - - ib. 
(3.) Productions from the churned ocean - - - 128 
(4.) Fire mingled with water in the destruction of the earth - 129 

IV. Druidical account of the deluge - - - - ib. 

1. Specimens of bardic fragments relative to the deluge - - 130 

2. Respecting the genuineness of tliose fragments - - 134 

V. Persian account of the deluge - - - - 136 

VI. Egyptian account of the deluge - _ > . jgy 

VII. Chinese account of the deluge - - . _ j^Q 

VIII. American accounts of the deluge - - . _ 141 

1. Mechoacan ------ ib. 

2. Peruvian _---.. j^g 

3. Brazilian - - - -' - " ib. 

4. Nicaraguan -----. 144 

5. Terra-Firma - - - - - ib. 

6. Cuban - - - - - " _ 145 

7. Otaheitean - ----- ib. 



CHAPTER V. 

Respecting the sacred books - - - 147 



I. There was a general notion, that certain sacred books were either composed 

or preserved or recovered from the deluge by the great father - ib. 

Pag. Idol. VOL» II. b 



X GONTKNTS. 

PAGE 

1. Books of Xisuthrus - - - - - 147 

2. Pillars of Seth . _ . . - HS 

3. Pillars or books of ThotU - - - - ib 

4. Books of Taut - - - - - ib. 

5. Books of the Buddliic great father - - - 149 
(I.) Of Mahabad - . . - . ib. 
(2.) Of Buddha . _ . - - ib. 
(3.) Of Menu _ _ . . _ ib. 

6. Books of Minos - ... - 150 
7- Books of Hu - - , - - ib. 
8. Books of Seth and Enoeh - - ^ - 151 

If. Remarks on the sacred books - - - - ib. 

1. Cities and mountains of the book - - - - 152 

2. '^The fable of the sacred books is older than the invasion of Palestine 

by the Israelites - - - - - 154 

S. Respecting the character of Seth, to whom the books are ascribed 155 



CHAPTER VI. 



Pagan accounts of the deluge, as erroneously conjined by local 

appi'Opriation to particular regions - - 157 



The pagan accounts of partial deluges have in a great measure originated 

from the phraseology of the commemorative Mysteries - ib. 

I. Local floods produced by tlie alleged submersion of a city or an island - 159 

J. Tables respecting the island Atlantis ... }6o 

'2. Fables respecting Samothrace . . . _ 163 

3. Fables respecting Orchomenus . - - - i67 

. 4. Celtic fable of the submersion of a city beneath a lake - - 170 



CONTENTS. 



XI 



5. Remarks on tlie siibuieislon of Sodoin beueatli the Dead sea 

II. Local floods produced by an irruption of the sea - 

1. Fable respecting tlie island of the Pbieg)2e - - _ 

2. Fable of the island Maurigasiiiia - . . . 

III. Local floods produced by the bursting of a lake without mention being 

made of the submersion of an island - - . 

1. Tradition of the Arabs of Yaman respecting the bursting of an 
artificial lake - . . . _ 

2. Tradition respecting tiie disruption of the British lake Llion 

3. Tradition of the North-Americans respecting the bursting of a lake 

IV. Local floods not marked either by the bursting of a lake or by the 

•inking of an island - - - - . 



1. Egyptian legends - - ' . 
(1.) That of Prometheus 

(2.) That of Menes 
(S.) That of Phoroneus - 

2. Greek legends - . . 
(1.) That of luachus in Argolis 

(2.) That of Athens - 

(3.) That of Corinth - 

(4.) That of Deucalion in Thessaly 

(5.) That of Ogyges in Beotia 

(6.) That of the Rhodian or Cretan Telchlnes 

3. Cilician legend _ . . 



PAGE 

172 

17G 

ib. 

179 

180 

ib. 

185 
189 

lf).i 

ib. 

ib. 
194 
195 
196 

ib. 
197 

ib. 
198 
199 
200 
201 



BOOK IV. 



CHAPTER I. 



Concerning the identity and astronomical character of the great 

gods of the Gentiles - - . _ 205 



All the gods of the Gentiles resolve themselves into one psrson, the great 
universal father 



lb. 



Xa CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



I. The ancient myihologists unanimously assert, that each of their gods is 

equally the Sun - - - - - 206 

1. Saturn - - - - - - ib. 

2. Jupiter - ----- ib. 

3. Pluto ------ ib. 

4. Bacchus »_---- ib» 

5. Priapus - - - - - - ib. 

6. Apollo -. - - - - - ib. 

7. Jauus - - - - - - 207 

8. Pan or Phanes - - ■ - - ib. 

9. Hercules ------ ib. 

10. Vulcan, Hephestus, Phtha, Amnuin - - - ib. 

1 1 . Esculapius, Asclepius - - - - ib. 
] 2. Mercury, Hermes, Thoth, Herni-Anubis, Theutates, Tuisto, Twash- 

ta, Tat, Datta, Buddha, Sacya - - - - ib. 

13. Mars, Ares, Theus-Ares - - - - ib. 

14. Osiris, Horus, Serapis _ - _ _ 208 

15. Belus, Baal, Molech, Baal-Peor, Adramraelech, Anammelech - ib. 

16. Adonis, Attis ..... 289 

17. Dagon, Siton, Dak-Po, Dagun, Pouti-Sat . - - ib. 

18. Brahma, Vishnou, Siva - - - 211 

19. Mithras - - - - - ib. 
2a Hu, Beli, BelatTicader, Abellion - - - - ib. 

21. VitzHputzli - - - - - S12 

22. Virachoca - - - - - ib. 
n. The ancient mythologists assert, that all their gods are the same person 213 



CHAPTER II. 



Respecting certain remarkable opinions which the Gentiles enter- 
tained of the Sun - - - - - 215 



I. The Sun was viewed as a mariner, placed either in a ship or in the ac- 
knowledged symbol of a ship . - - - ib. 



CONTENTS. Xui 

PAGE 

1. Eg)iptian legends _ - - . . glo 

2. Hindoo legends - - - _ . gjg 

3. Greek legends - - - - - 217 

4. Ship of the sphere - - - - - 218 

5. Gate or door of the Sun - - - - ib. 

II. The Sun was thought to have been plunged into the ocean - 219 

III. The Sun, wlien pursued by the ocean, took refuge in a floating island ib. 

1. Legend of the Egyptian Horus - - - - ib. 

2. Legend of the Grecian Apollo - - - - 220 

3. Legend of the Peruvian Virachoca - - - 221 

IV. The Sun delighted to dwell on the top of a sacred mountain, which 

had been lelt dry by the retiring flood _ . . oog 

V. The Sun was bom out of a floating egg, triplicated himself, and reigned 

a sovereign prince upon earth - - - - ib. 

VI. The great god of the Gentiles, though acknowledged to be the Sun, is 

yet positively declared to be a deified mortal - - 223 

1. Origin of astronomical hero-worship - - _ £25 

2. What particular man was venerated by the Gentiles in union with 

the solar orb _ . _ . . 228 

VII. Aptness of the physical character of the Sun for its union with that of 

the deified great father - - - 231 



CHAPTER III. 



Respecting the division of the gentile mythologists into two great 

primeval sects - - . . .. 233 



1. Paganism divides itself into the two sects of Buddhism and Brahmenism, 

the former being prior to the latter - - _ ib. 



VIV CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER IV. 



FAC 



U. The least siicieiit of thein camiot have originated later than the building 
of the lower : and tiie more ancient seems to have been a step, in 
the progres-s of <;orruption, preparatory to the otker - - 23* 

IH. The luiniixed Scythians were •peculiarly attached to the Buddhic super- 
stiti'Hi, vhile the various mixed tribes rather aft'ected the Brah- 
menicul superstition _ . - - 235 

IV. Wide extent of country, throughout which Buddhism is still professed 236 



Respecting the human character of the great father, as exhibited 
in the Osiric or Bacchic or Saivic or Brahmenical super- 
stition ...... 237 



The same person was equally venerated by the adherents of both super- 
stitions : they differed only in the mode. That person was the 

great father Adam viewed as reappearing in the great father Noah ib. 

I. Horus, Osiris, Isis . _ - . _ 238 

1. Horus ------ 239 

2. Osiris, Argo, Danaus, Jason, Theba _ _ _ 240 

3. Theocrasical identity of Osiris and Typhon - - 248 

4. Priapus, Phanes, Baal-Peor, Dionusus, Silenus, Adonis - 250 

5. Typhon, Osiris, Seth, Sothi - - . . 252 

6. Proper character of Typhon is the ocean at the time of the deluge 253 

7. Typhon, Ahriman, Siva, Corybas, viewed as the murderer of a bro-] 

ther ...... 255 

II. Adonis, Thammuz . _ - - - 256 

1. Legend of Adopis - - - - - 258 



CON'TKNTS. XV 

PAGE 

C. Getiealogy of Adonis ----- 2j9 

lir. Attis, Atys, Meiies _ _ _ - _ 2G0 

IV.. Asclepius, Esculapius^ Esmuni - * - - - 2G2 

V. Bacchus, Dioniisus ----- 26S 

1. His dilaceratiou by the Titans - - _ - 2G4' 

2. His descent into Hades - - - - ib. 

3. His Orgies - - _ • - _ 2(>j 

4. His ark - ----- ib. 

5. His birth on mount Meru _ _ . _ 267 
G. His nurse Hippa or Nusa _ _ _ _ ggg 

7. His genealogy _ - . . _ 269 

8. His character is compounded of Noah and Adam - - 270 

VI. Deo-Naush -_.-.. 272 

VII. Ishuren^Iswaia, Siva, Brahma, Vishnou, Crishna - -- 27 -t 

1. [ndian Bacchus, Seba, Maidashuren, Siva - - - ib. 

2. Death, Brahma, Brumius, Vagis, Bagis . - - 277 

3. Vishnoii, Narayan, Tamas . . _ . 279 

4. Crishna - - - - - - 28i 

5. The Trimurti or triad of Hindostan is composed of the three sons of 
Adam, viewed" as reappearing in the three sons of Noah - - 2S3t 

VIII. The Trimurti of Hindostan is the same as the classical triad of Jupi- 

ter, Neptune, and Pluto _ . . _ 285 

1. Jupiter - - - - - - 286 

(1.) Cretan Jupiter - - - - _ 287 

(2.) Jupiter was universally worshipped - . - 29O 

(3.) Jupiter-Sabazius - - - . 092 

(4.) Jupiter-Triophthalmus - _ - - 293 

2. Phito ------ 294 

(1.) Cabiri of Samothrace and India _ . . ogj 

(2.) The door of hell, the three judges, Styx, Menu, Charon - 298 

(3.) The helmet of invisibility .... 299 

(4.) Proserpine . - - - . 30O 

(5.) Muih, Dis, Mot, Mannus, Maotus - - _ \\j_ 

3. Neptune - - - - - - 302 

(1.) Exploits of Neptune - - - - ib. . 

(G.) Eumo)pus, Chion^ .... $03 

IX. IIu, Dylan, Dwy van, No'e, Acdd.)n _ - - 304 



XVI CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

X. American gods - . - _ _ 307 

1. Yo, Ho - - - - - - ib. 

2. Vitzliputzli, Mexitli, Tlaloc - - - - 31 1 

3. Virachoca, Pacliacamac, Manco-Capac, Con, Tangatanga - 317 

XI. Otaheitean Ooro and triad .... 333 



CHAPTER V. 

Respecting the human character of the great Jather, as exhibited 
in the Buddhic or Thoihic or Hermetic or Samanean theo- 
logy -.--.- 327 



I. Buddha -...-. ib. 

1. Discordant opinions respecting him. A comparatively modern im- 
postor usurped his name by claiming to be one of his Avatars - 328 

2. His character melts into that of Vishnou and Menu-Satyavrata - 330 

3. Legend of Buddha . . - - - 333 
. 4. Character of Buddha - - - - 336 

II. Buddha of Ceylon. Gautameh - - - - ib. 

III. Buddha of Siam. Somono-Codom, Baouth - - - 339 

IV. Buddha of Thibet and Boutan. Fo, Teeshoo-Lama, Taranath - 340 

V. Buddha of China - - - - - 341 

1 . Passage of the name Buddha into the name Fo - - 342 

2. Introduction of Buddhism into China - - - ib. 

3. Legend of Fo-Hi ... - - 343 

4. Fo-Hi is the same as Fo or Buddha ... 345 

5. Ancient Buddhism must have been the religion of China from the first ■ 346 

6. Buddha-Datta ..... 347 

VI. Buddha of Cochin-China, Tonquio, Japan, and Tartary - - 348 

VII. Three sects of Buddhists : proper Buddhists, Jainists, and Arbanists. 

Jain and Arhan are the same as Buddha - - -349 



CONTENTS. 



XVU 



VIII. The various titles of Buddha have been coniinunicated to his votaries 

1. Enumeration of his titles 

2. Notice of the two prinaeval sects by Greek writers 

IX. Buddha of Iran. Aboudad, Mahabad - - _ 

X. Buddha of the Goths or Scythians - - - _ 

1. Woden is the same person as Buddha - - . 

2. The name Woden is the same appellation as Voden or Poden 

3. Character of VVodeUj and points of resemblance between him and 
Buddha - - 

XI. Buddha of the Celts - . . . . 

1. Teutates, Hesus, Taranis - - - 

2. Budd, Man, Arawu, Tat, Saman _ . . 

3. Buddhic titles are yet preserved in the names of various Scottish islets, 
agreeably to the express testimony of Demetrius 

XII. Summanus - _ . - . 

1. Head of Osiris - _ - _ . 

2. Head of Summanus - - . . 

XIII. Janus or Jain - - - - 

1. His history and character • - 

2. His ship, his dove, and his mystic door - _ . 

XIV. Vadimon, Vandimon - - - _ 

XV. Terminus, Betylus, Cappotas - _ . _ 
Xyi. Dagon or Siton - - - ■ _ 

1. Oannes, Annedot - - - _ _ 

2. Dogon, Dagun, Dak-Po, Doca - - - _ 
Dago, Taurico - - _ - _ 
Dagh-Dae - _ _ _ _ 
Hercules _____ 

1. In the garden of the Hesperides he is Adam 

2. He identifies himself with Buddha, Dagon, Menu, or Dherma- 
rajah --_... 

He was worshipped in Egypt and Phenicia 

He was an infernal god _ . . _ 

Hercules-Ogmius, Hercules-Magusan. He identifies himself with 

Terminus and Mercury _ - _ . 

XVIII. Mercury, Hermes . _ . . 

1. Wide extent of Mercurial stone-worship . _ _ 

Pag. Idol. VOL. ir. 



3. 

4. 

XVII. 



3. 
4. 
5. 



PAGE 

349 
ib. 
350 
352 
354 
ib. 



356 
360 
361 
362 

366 
367 
368 

ib. 
369 

ib. 
371 
373 
374 
377 
378 

ib. 
380 

ib. 

ib. 
381 

ib. 

382 
383 

384 
386 
387 



XVm CONTENTS. 



PAGE 



2. Identity of Mercury and Buddha proved from the identity of their 

titles ...... 388 

3. Proved further by arbitrary points of resemblance between them 395 

4. Fabulous history of Mercury - _ _ . 396 

5. Mercury was an infernal god . _ . . 398 

XIX. Thoth --..-. ib. 

1. Taut of Phenicia - - - - - ib. 

2. Taut or Thoth of Egypt .... S99 

XX. Phtha, Vulcan, Hephestus, Aphthas, Twashta - - 401 

XXI. Mendes, Pan - . . . . 405 

1. Phallic Pan - . . . . ib. 

2. Era of Pan - . - - _ ib. 

3. Character of Pan - _ . . _ 40(5 

XXII. Cupid, Cama, Eros, Caimis, Camasson, Pothos, Maneros, Pappas 407 

1. He was the first-born lord of the Universe - - - ib. 

2. He was exposed at sea in an ark - - - - ib. 
.3. He is the same as Buddha _ _ _ - 409 

4. His genealogy - - - - - ib, 

5. Lamentation for Maneros - - - .411 

6. Cupid and Psyche - - - - - ib. 

7. The bow of Cupid - - _ - _ 412 

XXIII. Mithras ------ 413 

1. He was symbolized by a bull, a serpent, and a lion - - ib. 

2. His Mysteries, and birth from a rock - - - ib. 

3. Persian triads - - - - -414 

XXIV. Cadmus. He is the same character as Cadam or Somono-Codom 415 

1. The hypothesis of Bochart respecting him - - - 417 

2. Cadmus was venerated in many countries besides Phenicia - ib. 

3. His fabulous history . . _ - - 42O 

XXV. Mars-Camulus or Cadmilus . _ - - 422 

1. He was the same as Mercury and Hercules - - - 423 

2. Respecting the universal worship of the sword-god - - 425 

3. Mars was the piscine navicular great father - - - 430 

XXVI. Respecting the birth of the Buddhic god from a virgin - 431 

1. Mars __..-. ib. 

2. Buddha --_... 432 
S. Fo-Hi - - - - - - 434 



CONTENTS. XIX 

PAGE 

4. Mexitii .----- 434 

5. Vulcan or Phtlm - _ - - . 435 
C). Perseus - - - - - - ib. 

7. Zingis .----- ib. 

XXVII. Perseus - - - - - - 436 

1. He was venerated in various parts of the world - - 437 

2. He was represented like Mercury . _ _ 439 

3. He was the solar god exposed in an ark - _ - 440 

4. Elucidation of some particulars in his history - - ib. 

5. He was a giant, like Buddha - - - - 441 

XXVIII. The Cyclopes - - - - - 442 

1. They were three in number . . _ - 444 

2. They are ascribed to the era of the deluge, and are said to be infernal 
gods ; their chief being the same as Nilus or Oceanus - - 445 

3. Cyclops is the same as Wilcan or Phtha ; the three Cyclopes, as the 
three Cabiri ; and the seven Cyclopes, as the seven Cabiri - 447 

4. Fable of the single eye in the forehead of the Cyclopes - - 448 

XXIX. Memnon --.-.- ib. 

1. Memnon is the same character as the oriental Mahiman or Maiman- 

On ...... 449 

2. The legend of Memnon . _ _ - 450 
(1.) He marches to Troy from the African Ethiopia - - ib. 
(2.) The difficulty of this story was felt by ancient writers ; who, to 

mend the matter, would bring him out of Asiatic Ethiopia - 45 1 
(3.) The Africans however themselves claimed him ; and exhibited just 

as decisive circumstantial evidence of his being their countryman, as 

the Asiatics could do .... 452 
(4.) He is also said to have been a sovereign of Egypt : and he was 

represented by a marvellous gigantic statue - - 453 
(5.) The perplexities in his history are such, that some give up his 

expedition to Troy in toto . . _ - 4,57 

(6.) Utter impossibility of adapting his history to that of Troy - 458 

3. A discussion of the legend of Memnon - - - 459 
(1.) He vvas the great god of the Chusas or Ethiopians; and was 

, therefore worshipped in all their settlements, whether African or 

Asiatic ------ ib. 

(2.) Discordant opinions respecting the complexion of Buddha und 

Memnon, both in ihe east and in the west - - - 4;)2 



XX CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

(3.) He was the same as Osymandyas or Ismandes or Sesostris - 466 

(4.) The great father and the great mother were represented by two 

gigantic statues. Various instances of this superstition - 467 

(,5.) Respecting the pillars and era of Sesostris - - 472 

(6.) The funereal birds of Memnon were his priests - - 476 



CHAPTER VI. 



Respecting the union of the two great superstitions in the worship 

of Jagan-Nath, Saturn, and Baal - - 482 



As the same object was venerated in both superstitions, we find them at 
length uniting together in the worship of Jagan-Nath, Saturn, and 
Baal ------ ib. 

I. Jagan-Nath, Bal-Rama, Subhadra - - - - ib. 

1. The worship of Jagan-Nath is confessedly a point of union for all the 

contending sects . - - - ib. 

(1.) Antiquity of his temple in Orissa - - , - 483 

(2.) Jagan-Nath is the same both as Vishnou and Siva, but not the 

same as either of them exclusively - - - ib. 

2. Nature of the worship of Jagan-Natli - . . 434 
(1.) He is adored in conjunction with Bal-Rama and Subhadra. The 

forms of these deities united produce the cypher Pranava, which repre- 
sents the holy monosyllabic divine name. But Om or Awm was the 
triplicated great father, by whatever name he might be venerated ib. 

(2.) As Om therefore, all sects agree in worshipping the triplicated her- 
maphroditic Jagan-Nath . _ _ _ 435 

(3.) The form of the god has been contrived on principles well known 

to the ancient mythologists - - - - 486 

(4.) Jagan-Nath is the same as Suman-Nath - - - 488 



CONTENTS. XXI 

PAGE 
(.5.) The present worship of Jagan-Nath, accorfling to the general prac- 
tice of the Gentiles, is a disgraceful mixture of homicide and obscenity 489 

II. Saturn, Cronus ----- ib. 

1 . Saturn, though immediately connected with the Brahmenical triad of 
Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, yet identifies himself with the principal 

god of the Buddhic superstition - - - - ib. 

(1.) II, Ua - - - - - - 490 

(2>) Chiun, Chivan, Che-Kya, Remphan - - - ib. 

(3.) Satyaur-Ata, Sei-Suther, Seater, day of Saturn - - 491 

(4.) The name Saturn is most probably Babylonic or Chaldaic - 493 

2. The character of Saturn proves him to be Noah viewed as a reappear- 
ance of Adam ----- ib. 
(1.) Character of Saturn as Adam - - - ib. 
(2.) Character of Saturn as Noah - - - - 494 

III, Baal, Molech ------ 500 

1 . Proofs of his identity with Saturn - - - ib. 

2. Proof of his identity with Jagan-Nath and Buddha from his peculiar 
worship and sacred footstep on the top of the mount of Olives - 502 

3. His cliaracter ascertained from the hitherto imperfectly-understood sar- 
casm, which the prophet Elijah employs in addressing his ministers. ib. 



Fag. Idol, VOL. II. 



/ 



XXll 



EXPLANA i ION OF THE FIGURES IN PLATE II. 



Fi£C. 
1. Vislinou floating in deep slumber on the folds of the great navicular sea-serpent, 

while the whole earth is covered with water : Lacshmi chafing his feet : and 

BrahuKi springing from his navel in the calix of the lotos. From an Indian 

painting in Moor's Hind. Panth. pi. 7. 
y. Buddha sleeping during the intermediate period between two worlds. From his 

statue 1 8 cubits long in his temple at Oogul-Bodda. 
.3. Buddha seated in a contemplative posture ; bearing, as in the Inst representation 

of him, the mystic trident on his head. This represents the lunar ship Argha 

with the great father in the centre supplying to it the place of a mast. From 

his statue in his temple at Oogul-Bodda, 
4. Two colossal statues of the great father and the great mother near the palace of 

Memnon in the Thebais. From Norden. 
/). Crishna, an incarnation of Vishnou, with his three companions, his flocks, and his 

herds, taking shelter from an impending danger, in a vast serpent; wiiich the 

hero-god had formed for that special purpose. From Moor's Hind. Panth. 

pi. 64. 
G. Front view of a Cherub, as described by Ezekiel. 

7. Side view of a Cherub, as described by Ezekiel. 

8. Ardha-Nari, or the hermaphroditic god produced by ilie lateral union of Isani and 

Isi, Origin of the fabulous Amazon. From Moor's Hind. Panth. pi. 24. 



\ 



THE ORIGIN 



OF 



PAGAN IDOLATRY. 



BOOK III. 



Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 



CHAPTER I. 



Respecting the Fable of the Four Ages. 



j\n ancient notion has very generally prevailed both in the east and in 
the west, that there have been four successive ages, symbolized by the 
four metals of gold, silver, brass, and iron, during whirh mankind gradu- 
ally degenerated from a state of peace and holiness to one of violence and 
wickedness. But this notion is not always exhibited precisely in the same 
form : in the fables that have been founded upon it a variety may be ob- 
served, which at first might seem to involve a sort of contradiction, but 
which in reality was only the natural consequence of the doctrine of an 
endless succession of similar worlds. 

The variety is this : the series of the four ages is sometimes deduced from 
the creation, and sometimes from the deluge ; so that, when the two fables 
are joined together, the series of the latter commences precisely where the 
series of the former terminates. At the head of each series however the 
great father, in the west denominated Crotius or Saturn, and by the oriental 
Hindoos Menu, is universally placed : so that the four ages, in whatever 
manner they are reckoned, always begin from the days of the great father ; 
whence the golden age isproperly the age of the great father's manifestation 
at the commencement of a new world. 



4 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

BOOK III. Now, since world was believed to succeed world, and since each succes- 
sive manifestation of the great father was esteemed only a reappearance of 
the same personage at the opening of each mundane system ; the golden age, 
being the age of the great father, was of course placed at the beginning of 
every world : and hence we perceive the cause, why the series of the four 
ages, though always deduced from Saturn or Menu, is yet sometimes de- 
duced from the epoch of the creation and at other times from that of tlie 
flood. 

I. The fable itself properly relates to the period between the creation and 
the deluge ; for the golden age, in absolute strictness, can only be applied to 
the days of man's innocence and happiness in Paradise : but the ancient 
mythologists, who delighted to trace a resemblance between the two worlds 
as tending to establish their favourite doctrine of an endless succession of per- 
fectly similar mundane systems, perceived, that after the flood there was what 
might be termed a new golden age. This was indeed but a faint and imper- 
fect image of its predecessor : yet the similitude was sufficient to serve their 
purpose, and as such it was eagerly caught at. 

They observed, that the antediluvian world commenced with a period of 
happiness and innocence ; that the first man was an agriculturist ; and that 
he subsisted in a simple state on the fruits of the earth, without being sub- 
ject either to the artificial vices or restraints of civil society. They further 
observed, that his primeval innocence was speedily corrupted ; and that 
matters rapidly passed from bad to worse, until at length a profligate and 
lawless generation was swept away by the waters of the flood. Now, since 
the corruption was gradual, it was not unnatural to make a chronological 
division of the period during which it took place : and, as the age of purity 
was aptly represented by the noblest metal, so it was an obvious idea to 
describe the subsequent progressive deterioration of manners by three me- 
tals, all inferior to gold, and each successively of less value than that which 
preceded it. 

Such were the first observations of the ancients ; but here they were little 
inclined to stop. The iron age ushered in the deluge ; and the deluge was 
followed by a new world and a new order of things. As the old world then 
had commenced with a golden age, so likewise must the new : and they 



THE ORtGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. S 

found, that this, to a certain extent, was actually the case. They observed, cuap. t. 
that the renovated system began with a period, which, when compared to 
the age of violence and licentiousness that had immediately preceded it, 
might well be deemed a golden period of innocence and happiness, a period 
of restored integrity and of renewed siniplicity of manners. They observed, 
that the first man of this reproduced world, like the first man of the former 
world, was an agriculturist ; that he dwelt in the very same Paradisiacal re- 
gion of the globe which his predecessor had tenanted ; and that he too, free 
alike from the vices and restraints of advanced society, enjoyed the artless 
fi-eedom of rural life, and subsisted on the productions of all- bountiful nature. 
And they observed, that a deterioration of manners, which, in point both of 
violence and licentiousness, bore a striking resemblance to the progressive 
corruption of the antediluvians, speedily succeeded the golden age of the 
great postdiluvian father. Hence the four ages were placed after the flood, 
no less than before it : and hence it was assumed, that every new world 
would similarly commence with a period of gold, which would similarly be 
followed by those of silver, brass, and iron. 

II. But here an obvious difficulty arose. In the antediluvian world, the 
iron age was succeeded in the tenth generation by the flood; and a new series 
forthwith commenced with the new world : but, in that new world, though it 
was easy to specify the age of gold, and though the progress of corruption 
soon introduced what might well be esteemed an age of iron, no deluge occur- 
red in the tenth generation, nor did another mundane system occupy the 
place of its lately renovated predecessor. Here then was a difliculty of no 
trifling nature, which they, who advocated the doctrine of a succession of 
similar worlds, had to contend with. They had pointed out an age of gold, 
and they found themselves living in an age of iron : but the tenth generation 
rolled away, and the world which they mhabited was destroyed neither by a 
flood of water nor by a deluge of fire. Where then were the limits of the 
age of iron to be fixed ? Had it not as yet commenced ; or was it to be 
extended to an indefinite length ? The manners of the times proved but too 
decisively, that it had commenced : and the arrival of the tenth generation 
afforded a sufficient argument tor those, who delighted in analogical deduction, 
that the beginning of a new series might be expected, and that the reforma- 
tion of another golden age might be hoped for. 



6 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOT,ATRV. 

Now, as I have already had occasion elsewhere to observe,' precisely in 
this tenth generation a partial reform did take place, and an awful event oc- 
curred which by those in its vicinity appears evidently for a season to have 
been mistaken for a destruction of the world by a deluge of fire. The [ireter- 
natural call of Abraham from Ur of Chald^a must have excited very general 
attention : and, in the then early state of colonization, must Iiave been 
known throughout a great part of the imperfectly peopled east; because 
Chaldea was the central point from which the rudiments of each future nation 
proceeded, and because most probably as yet they had by no means reached 
the utmost extremities of the vast Asiatic continent. The knowledge of liis 
call would be yet further spread by the wandering life, to which he devoted 
himself. And this life, which withdrew him from the artificial habits of 
settled society, and which in some measure presented an image of the 
primeval simplicity of the golden age : this life, united with the pristine in- 
tegrity and holiness of his manners, would readily suggest to those, who 
were already on the tiptoe of expectation, that Abraham was a reappearance 
of the great father, and that with him a new age of gold was now commenc- 
ing. The idea would be strengthened by the miraculous destruction of 
Sodom and Gomorrha ; and, when it was found that the subversion of those 
cities w as neither the end of the world nor the prelude to it, a new modifica- 
tion of the fable of the four ages would be the natural consequence. 

This fable, in its original state, described the gradual deterioi'ation of 
manners from the commencement to the termination of a world ; and taught, 
that each successive world would experience the very same deterioration, 
which would regularly bring on its destruction either by fire or water, when a 
new world would usher in a new series of ages : but now the theory was found 
to be not altogether true in matter of fact ; and some different arrangement 
must be contrived, which might still preserve its plausibility, and which 
mi"ht prevent the necessity of its total abandonment. Such an arrangement 
accordingly was devised : and, since it had been perceived that the postdi- 
luvian iron age did not precede a second destruction of the world, but only 
ushered in a partial reformation and a faint image of the golden age in one 
particular family (the national golden age of the people Israel) ; it was then 

' Vide supra b. i. c. 2. sect. xiii. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 7 

asserted, that the four ages succeeded each other in perpetual rotation, that '^"^'- '• 
the iron age of one series was ever followed by the golden age of another, 
that there were naany such cycles in the duration of each world, and that, 
although an iron age would at length be assuredly the harbinger of a general 
deluge, there would be many reformations of manners and many successive 
degeneracies, previous to the awful catastrophe of a complete mundane 
dissolution. 

This is the doctrine of the Hindoos. They invariably make their golden 
age commence with the appearance of a IVIenu, and they invariably suppose 
the golden age to be followed by three others of progressive corruption : 
but, in each Manwantara or mundane reign of a Menu, they place seventy- 
one cycles of four ages each ; and believe, that every world is destroyed only 
at the end of the iron age of the last cycle, that is to say, at the end of the 
complete Manwantara. In this arrangement, the difficulty is, how to make 
each cycle begin with a Menu : for they were well aware, that the proper 
golden age was the Paradisiacal age of the first Menu or great father; and 
they were no less aware, that the true epoch of the great father's appearance 
was the commencement of each Manwantara or of each grand cosmical revo- 
lution. If then the great father was manifested in the golden age at the 
beginning of every Manwantara, immediately after the retiring of the inter- 
mediate deluge, on the waters of whicK he had floated in a state of deep 
meditative slumber : ii such was the true period of his manifestation, if the 
golden age was invariably his peculiar age^ and if yet there were no less than 
seventy-one golden ages in the course of each Manwantara; how, under these 
circumstances, could evcrj/ golden age be the age of a Menu, when his real 
era was the period immediately after the intermediate deluge or that Jirst 
golden age with which all new worlds are supposed constantly to open ? 
The way, in which they managed the difficulty that necessarily resulted from 
the new modification of the fable, was this : they maintained, that every 
Manwantara or entire mundane revolution was the reign of every Menu over 
his own proper world ; but that, as every INIanwantara comprized sevent}'- 
one cycles of four ages, and as it was incongruous to place a holy personage 
in times of impurity, each Menu only reigns personally in each golden age 
and disappears in the three corrupt ages that follow it, continuing to dive 



8 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. 

his Maiiwantara.' 



and emerge like a water-fowl (such is tlieir comparison) until the close of 



It is obvious, that this opinion involves the belief, that every reformer of 
mankind, who should start up at the close of what might be deemed an iron 
age, was a reappearance of Menu or the great father. Such, accordingly, 
was the precise notion which the Phenicians, who were a colony of Scythic 
Hindoos, entertained of Abraham, as may easily be collected from the 
mythic history of Sanchoniatho. They termed him Cronus or Ilus, which 
like Menu was the proper appellation of the great father : and yet they 
sufficiently shewed, what person they literally intended, by asserting, that 
this Ilus once reigned in Palestine, that he sacrificed his only son who was 
born to him of the nymph Anobret, and that he first introduced the rite of 
circumcision.* Now the bestowing upon Abraham the title of Ilus or Menu 
proves, that they esteemed him a reappearance of Menu ; otherwise, why 
should they give him the name ? And this opinion, which they entertained of 
him, exactly accords both with the speculations of their Indo-Scythic fore- 
fathers, and with the peculiarities of Abraham's own history. He flourished 
in the tenth generation after the flood ; as Noah, or Menu-Satyavrata, did in 
the tenth descent after the creation : he lived at the end of what would be 
deemed the postdiluvian iron age, as Noah did at the end of the antedilu- 
vian iron age : like Noah, he had communication with God, and was a 
preacher of righteousness : and, like Noah, he was a reformer of corrupt 
manners, and was therefore considered as the introducer of the golden age 
of a new cycle. 

We shall now see the reason, why the circumstance of his living in the 
tenth generation after the flood is noticed so industriously by those ancient 
pagan writers, who have mentioned him. Berosus and Eupolemus are alike 
curious in specifying this genealogical particular and in dwelling on the jus- 
lice and uprightness of Abraham.' In doing so they are 'perfectly accurate 
no doubt ; but it was not a jfiere love of accuracy, which induced them to 
record such particulars. The appearance of Abraham in the tenth post- 
<iiluvian generation, and his eminent charactei for justice and integrity, 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 112, 126. * Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. lib. iv. c. l6. 

^ Joseph. Ant. Jud. lib. i. c. 7. Euseb, Praep. Evan. lib. ix. c. 17. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 9 

caused him to be deemed a new manifestation of tlie great fatlner ; who is *''**''■ 
honourably distinguished, in tlie writings both of Moses and Sanchoniatho, 
by the title of Sadik or the just vian : and this appearance of his precisely 
in the tenth generation, and this character which he bore of justice, are 
mentioned by Berosus and Eupolemus, because to these points the atten- 
tion of his contemporaries, who deemed him a new Cronus or Menu, was 
particularly directed. 

Such then was the manner, in which originated the theory of many suc- 
cessive cycles of the four ages in the course of each mundane revolution. 
Finding that in the tenth postdiluvian generation the then state of the 
world corresponded with the character of the iron age, finding however that 
no deluge came to sweep away mankind from off the face of the earth, and 
yet finding that a just man then arose to bear his testimony against the pre- 
vailing iniquities : the ancient mythologists of the east were reduced to 
adopt the supposition, that the iron age was not always the harbinger of a 
flood ; but that, when one cycle of four ages had expired, another com- 
menced with the appearance of a Menu and with an attempt at reformation, 
which in some measure revived the integrity of the golden or Saturnian age. 

Agreeably to such a theory, the Hindoos are wont to esteem the manifesta- 
tion of any remarkable character the reappearance of a Menu or a Buddha 
or a Salivahana, all which titles are descriptive of one and the same person, 
and to reckon this manifestation the commencement of a new series of ages. 
Thus the oriental heretics early corrupted Christianity, by pretending that 
Jesus was a Buddha or Salivahana : thus the Arabian impostor Mohammed 
was thought to be another Salivahana : and thus the appearance both of 
Jesus and Mohammed was equally said to constitute a new chronological era.' 
Such a notion was the more plausibly adopted by those philosophizing con- 
verts of the east, who sought to engraft Christianity upon the old stock of 
Paganism, because the evangelical prophet has foretold the birth of the 
Messiah in language borrowed from the imagery of the golden or Paradisiacal 
age. The future Saviour of mankind was to destroy the wicked from oft" the 
face of the earth, and to introduce afresh the reign of equity and righteous- 

■ See Asiat, Res. vol. is. p. 212 ct infra, vol. x. p. 27 et infra. 
Pag. Idol. VOL. U. B 



10 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. jjggg Justice was to be the girdle of liis loins, and faithfulness the girdle of 
his reins. The wolf once more, as of old in Eden, was to dwell with the 
lamb; and the leopard was to lie down with the kid. A joung child, the 
mysterious infant who was vainly deemed the new-born Menu of a fresh 
series of ages, was to lead with one band the calf, the lion, and the fatling ; 
was to play, with perfect safety, on the hole of the asp ; and was fearlessly 
to lay his hand on the den of the cockatrice. The cow and the bear were 
to feed together : the lion was to eat straw like the ox. Destruction was 
again to be unknown throughout that holy mountain of Jehovah ; which, 
like the Meru or Ida of the Hindoos, was a transcript of the sacred hill of 
Paradise : and a flood of religious knowledge, boundless as the interminable 
diluvian ocean, should sweep away every remnant of corruption, and should 
diffuse itself over the surface of the whole earth.' 

A similar idea of an age of iron being succeeded by an age of gold was 
carried likewise into the west : and the poet, who most distinctly exhibits 
it, has been equally indebted to the mythological speculations of the oriental 
sages and the glowing imagery of the Hebrew prophet. The PoUio of Virgil, 
though replete with allusions to that mystic theology in which he was so 
profoundly versed, is yet so strongly tinged with the peculiar phraseology of 
Isaiah, that I think it only not demonstrable that he had read and availed 
himself of the Greek translation of the Jewish Scriptures. In this extra- 
ordinary poem, he celebrates the expected birth of a wonderful child, who 
was destined to put an end to the age of iron and to introduce a new age of 
gold. 

The last period, sung by the Sibylline prophetess, is nmo arrived: and the 
grand series of ages, that series which recurs again and again in the course 
of one mundane revolution, begins afresh. Now the virgin Astrea returns 
from heaven ; and the primeval reign of Saturn recommences : now a new 
race descends from, the celestial realms of holiness. Do thou, Lucina, smile 
propitious on the birth of a boy ; who will bring to a close the present age of 
iron, and introduce throughout the xvhole world a new age of gold. Then 
shall the herds no longer dread the fury of the lion, nor shall the poison of 

' Isaiah xi. 4 — S, 



JHE ORIGIN OF PAGAy IDOLATRY. 11 

the serpent any longer be formidable : every venomous animal, and every ^^*^'^- ■• 
deleterious plant, shall perish together. Thejitlds shall be yellow with corn, 
the grape shall hang in ruddy clusters from the bramble, and honey shall 
distil spontaneously from the rugged oak. The universal globe shall enjoy 
the blessings of peace, secure under the mild sway of its new and divine 
sovereign. 

Thus, after a long period of rapine and licentiousness, was the golden age 
to appear again, and the ever revolving cycle to commence afresh : thus 
accurately does the mythological poet express the sentiments of the oriental 
philosophers. 

Nor is this all : while he exhibits to us the doctrine of successive cycles 
occurring throughout tlie vast duration of a whole Manwantara, he liints 
also at that great catastrophe, which closed the real iron age» and which was 
followed by a second imperfect age of gold. According to the Hindoos, 
every mundane system terminates with a deluge, on the surface of which 
the great father floats in the ship Argha : and, when the waters retire, he 
and the vessel which had sustained him assume for a season the form of 
doves, until they are manifested at the commencement of the new world, as 
the parents of three sons and through them of the renovated human race. 
Now the Argha of the Hindoos is palpably the Argo of the Egyptians and 
the classical writers: consequently, the fictitious voyage of the Argo is no 
other than the diluvian voyage of the Argha or Ark. Hence Virgil, true to 
the doctrine of a succession of similar worlds, in each of which every event 
was but a repetition of a parallel former event, tells us, that, when the great 
series of ages commences afresh with that of gold, there shall be another 
Argo manned with chosen heroes and another Tiphys to steer it safely over 
the mighty deep, another eminent attempt at navigation, another beginning 
of civil society, and another Achilles to destroy another Ilium. 

III. The several descriptions, which are given of the golden age, prove 
very clearly, that, however it may have been afterwards applied to represent 
tlie period immediately subsequent to the flood, its real prototype was the 
age of innocence and happiness in Paradise. 

1 . Plato informs us, that, in the first arrangement of things wliich was 
ordained of God, there were neither human politics, nor the appropriation 



12 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

'"■ of wives and children; but that all lived in common upon the exuberant 
productions of the earth. They had abundance of fruits and trees : and 
they were blessed with a soil so rich, that it brought forth those fruits spon- 
taneously and without the labour of cultivation. They spent their time in 
the open air, and they associated together without shame in a state of naked- 
ness. They conversed, not only with each other, but likewise with the 
beasts : yet God was their special guardian ; and by a peculiar interposition 
provided them with food, as men are now wont to provide for the inferior 
domestic animals. He mentions, that he had learned these particulars from 
an ancient fable : and concludes with saying, that such matters must be laid 
aside, until some meet interpreter of thehi should be revealed.' 

Though it is not impossible, that Plato in the course of his travels may 
have become acquainted with the writings of ]\Ioses, and that the exordium 
of Genesis may be the ancient fable to which he alludes, yet I doubt w hether 
these opinions were exclusively borrowed from the Pentateuch ; I should 
rather be inclined to believe, that, if ever the philosopher did indeed meet 
with that venerable book, he was struck with finding in it a narrative that 
remarkably accorded with the traditions which had been handed down by his 
- own ancestors. That he ever perused the book of Genesis, must be a matter 
of uncertainty ; but, that he received his knowledge of the Paradisiacal age 
from the legends of his country, is indisputable, because he himself positively 
declares that such was the case. Our forefathers, says he, who sprang up 
immediately after the first revolution, delivered these things unto us. His 
knowledge therefore was traditionally derived from his Hellenic progenitors : 
and he wrote only from the common stock of information equally possessed 
by all his inquiring contemporaries. The great revolution, of which he here 
speaks, can only, as it appears to me, be the deluge. It follows therefore,^ 
that Plato's notions of a primitive state of happy innocence, whether we may 
or may not suppose them to have been corrected and modified by an acquain- 
tance with the divinely inspired theology of the Hebrews, were yet originally 
received, down the stream of unbroken tradition, from the first post-dilu- 
vians. That he meant the age of Paradise by the golden period which he 
so particularly describes, is manifest from one remarkable circumstance 
which I have already had occasion to notice. He asserts, that the deprava- 

• Plai. Polit. p. 271, 272. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAhT IDOLATRY. 13 

tion of the soul, by which it was reduced to a state of spiritual bondage, 
commenced at the close of the golden age.' Now we are well assured, that 
this depravation took place at the end of the Paradisiacal age. The age 
therefore of Paradise must inevitably be the fabled age of gold. 

2. That Plato's account of the first peri6d was received traditionally, 
however it might have been improved by extrinsical information, appears 
from its coincidence with other similar narratives both in prose and in verse. 
Dicearchus the Peripatetic, as vve learn from Porphyry, undertook to de- 
scribe M'hat he calls tiie ancient mode of living among the Greeks, but what 
was really the life of the primeval antediluvian age which every nation spe- 
cially appropriated to its own peculiar ancestors. The first men, according 
to this writer, were born near to the gods, were of a most excellent nature, 
and lived most holy lives : so that, when compared with the degenerate 
modern race of mortals, they might well be esteemed a golden generation. 
At that ti/ne, nothing which had life was slaughtered : and, from the universal 
felicity which then prevailed, the poets borrowed their pictures of the golden 
age. This age, Dicearchus adds, was the age of Cronus or Saturn.* 

3. With such accredited traditions agree the legendary accounts of the 
poets. 

When gods and mortal men, says Hesiod, were Jirst born together, the 
golden age commenced, the precious gift of the deities who acknowledged 
Cronus as their sovereign. Mankind then led the life of the gods, free 
from tormenting cares, and exempt from labour and sorrow. Old age was 
unknown. Their limbs were braced with a perpetual vigour ; and the evils 
of disease were unfelt. When at length the hour of dissolution arrived, 
death assumed the mild aspect of sleep, and laid aside all his terrors. Every 
blessing was their oxvn. The fruits of the earth sprang up spontaneousli/ 
and abundantly. Peace reigned : and her companions were happiness and 
pleasure.^ 

The manner, in which he accounts for the change from this blissful condition, 
both clearly points out the period alluded to, and bears strongly impressed 
upon it the marks of primitive tradition. Originally, says he, the tribes of 

' Plat. Polit. p. 231. * Porph. de abstin. lib. iv. sect. 2. 

' lies. Oper. et dier. lib. i. ver. 108 — 119. 



14 THE ORIGIN 01" PAGAN IDOLATRy. 

nooK III. ^g„ lived Upon the earth, free from those evils and labours and diseases 
which protiuce old age: but the Jirst woman, endowed by the gods with 
every accmpUshment, yet destined to be the ruin of prying man, opened a 
fatal casket, and let out miseries and calamities innumerable. Too late, 
when her mischievous curiosity was satisfied, she replaced the lid: but sea 
and latidwere ?wzv alike replete with evil; hope alone remaified at the bottom 
of the casket.^ 

I think it evident, that this legend contains a disguised history of the fall : 
for the whole connection, in which it stands, seems imperiously to demand 
such a supposition. Hence I am not disposed to censure the conjecture of 
Cluverius, that that hope, which is said to have been left alone in the casket, 
is the never-forgotten hope of redemption through a Saviour who should at 
once bruise the head of the serpent and be offered up as a sacrifice for sin.* 

The account, which Ovid gives of the golden age, is but a transcript from 
Hesiod : the same primeval simplicity, and the same universal happiness, 
are equally celebrated by the Roman bard as essential characteristics of the 
ancient reign of Saturn. ' 

4. A similar idea occupied the minds of our Gothic ancestors. 

The first inhabitants of the world, according to the usual system of the 
pagan nations which elevated the great father and his children to the rank of 
demon-gods, were considered by them as something more than human. 
Their abode was a magnificent hall glittering with burnished gold, the mansion 
of love, joy, and friendship. The very meanestof theirutensils were compos- 
ed of the same precious material; and the age itself acquired the denomination 
of golden. Such was the happiness of the primitive race of mortals ; a hap- 
piness, which they were destined not long to enjoy. The blissful period of 
innocence was soon contaminated. Certain women arrived from the country 
of the giants ; and, by their seductive blandishments, corrupted the pristine 
integrity and purity.* 

In this tradition, we may observe, as well as in that of the fabulous Pan- 
dora, the introduction of sin at the close of the golden age is ascribed to 
female agency : but it seems probable, that the two legends do not relate to 

• Hes. Open et dier. lib. i. ver. 59—105. * Cluver. Germ. Ant. p. 225. ' 

' Ovid. Metam. lib. i. vcr. 89— 112, * Edda. Fab. vii. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 15 

precisely the same circumstance. The transgression of Eve is the obvious 
prototype of the fatal curiosity of Pandora : but the arrival of women from 
the country of the giants, and tlieir intercourse m ith a distinct and more 
pure line of mortals, can scarcely fail of bringing forcibly to our recollection 
the maniages of the sons of Seth with the daughters of Cain, which were the 
principal cause of the universal depravity of the antediluvians.' 

5. The same belief in a primitive state of holiness may be traced no less 
distinctly in the fables of Ilindostan. 

There can arise little doubt, to adopt the words of Mr. Maurice, but 
that by the Satya age or age of perfection, the golden age of classical 
mytliology, the Brahmens obscurely allude to the state of perfection 
and happiness enjoyed by man in Paradise. It is impossible to explain 
•what the Indian xiriters assert, concertiing the uiiiversal purity of manners 
and the luxurious and unbounded plenty prevailing in that primitive era, 
without this supposition. Justice, truth, philanthropy, were then practised 
among all the orders and classes of mankind. There was then no extortion, 
no circumvention, no fraud, used in their dealings with one another. Perpe- 
tual oblations smoked on the altars of the Deity ; every tongue uttered 
praises ; and every heart glowed with gratitude to the Supreme Creator. 
The gods, in token of' their approbation of the conduct of mortals, condescend- 
ed frequently to become incarnate and to hold personal converse zvith the 
yet undepraved race ; to instruct them in arts and sciences ; to unveil their 
own sublime functions arid pure nature ; and to make them acquainted uith 
the economy of those celestial regions, into which they were to be imme- 
diately translated when the period of their terrestrial probation cvpired^ 

Nor is this notion of late origin among the Hindoos: Calanus, according 
to Strabo, held much the same language, with the addition of particularizing 
the lapse of the first race and the consequent necessity of procuring by la- 
bour the necessaries of life. Formerly, said he, corn of all sorts abounded 
as plentifully as dust docs at present ; and the fountains poured forth streams, 
some of TiOter,- some of milk, some of honey, some of nine, and some of oil. 
On ing to this luxurious abundance, man became corrupt, and fell into all 
kinds of wickedness; insomuch that Jupiter, disgusted zvith such a scene, 

' Gen. vi. 2, 4. * Hiit. of Hind. vol. i. p. 371. 



16 THF, ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. abolished the. ancient order of things, and permitted the necessaries of life 
to be obtained only through the medium of labour? A tradition thus cir- 
cumstantial seems to me to be little more than a transcript of the scriptural 
account of Paradise, of the fall, and of God's denunciation against Adam 
that the ground should be cursed for his sake and that in the sweat of his 
face he should eat bread.' 

The Hindoos sometimes express the deterioration of the Paradisiacal state 
in a figurative manner. The former seas (according to their allegorical 
writers) of milk, butter, honey, and wine, have either wholly disappeared, 
or have become salt and bitter: and the colour of the white island has been 
changed into black on account of the sins of mankind.' 

6. To the preceding Hindoo legends may properly be subjoined the 
curious traditional fable of the Jains, a sect who worship Buddha or Menu 
under the title of Jain-Eswara. 

These suppose, like the Brahmenists, that the great mundane periods, 
as well as their subdivisions, revolve again and again to all eternity : and, 
like them also, they particularly notice among the subdivisions a cycle of 
four ages. The first of these ages exactly corresponds with the golden age 
of tlie classical writers : but, in addition to the commonly specified charac- 
teristics, a remarkable particular is introduced into the account of it. Dur- 
ing its continuance, we are told, that men subsisted on the produce of ten 
celestial trees; that there were no kings; that all were abundantly blessed ; 
and that the people, who then flourished, were distinguished by the appellation 
of the supremely happy inhabitants of the earth.* 

Perhaps it is almost superfluous to observe, that the notion of these ten 
celestial trees has manifestly been borrowed from the fruit-bearing trees of 
the semi-celestial garden of Paradise. 

IV. Since then the first or golden age is evidently that of man's innocence 
in Eden, Saturn or Cronus, in other words the great father, who, by whatever 
name he may be distinguished, is the prince of that age, must by a necessary 
consequence be tiie patriarch Adam. Accordingly, Ovid places all the four 
ages before the flood : and, after assigning the first or the age of Saturn to 

' Strab. Geog. lib. xv. p. 715. * Gen. iii. 17, 18, 19. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 302. * Asiat. Res. vol. i.x. p. 257, 258. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 17 

the period which immediately succeeds the creation, he represents, in a man- ««*«'• 
ner perfectly corresponding with Scripture, the three following ages as gra- 
dually introducing a greater and greater degree of corruption and lawless 
violence, until at length the supereminent wickedness of the iron age be- 
comes the moral cause of the deluge. 

Yet the whole history of Saturn or Cronus or the great father equally 
proves him to be the patriarch Noah : hence, when he is viewed under this 
character, the golden age must be placed immediately after the flood. And 
here, accordingly, we find it placed by the Hindoos. 

1. The Brahmenical mythologists represent it, as synchronizing with the 
four first Avatars or incarnate descents of Vishnou; the three former of 
which, as Sir William Jones rightly observes, relate to some stupendous 
convulsion of our globe from the fountains of the great deep. But we must 
not adopt in its full extent the opinion of this learned writer, which fixes the 
Satya Yug exclusively to the period that immediately succeeds the deluge. 
The Hindoos hold the doctrine of a series of worlds, each of which is equally 
preceded by a flood and by the escape of the great father with seven compa- 
nions in an ark. Consequently, in ascribing their Satya Yug to the period 
after the deluge, they by no means limit it to the postdiluvian age of Noah : 
they merely assign it to the earliest period of every world. This will account 
for an apparent contradiction in their theology. When they descend to de- 
scription, they paint the Satya Yug in such colours as agree only with the 
state of Paradisiacal innocence and happiness : but, when they arrange their 
four ages chronologically, we find ourselves in the present or postdiluvian 
world. In fact, the progress of corruption in the new world bore a strong 
resemblance, as I have already observed, to that in the old world : and, as 
the iron age of the former produced the catastrophe of the flood ; so, at the 
yet future close of the Call or iron age of the latter, the Hindoos place the 
tenth incarnation of Vishnou, who will then be manifested for the dissolution 
of the present mundane system. 

Such, I have little doubt, is the original and consistent form of the legend ; 

though it does not accord with that modification of it, which exhibits many 

cycles of the four ages as revolving in the course of a single Manwantara or 

mundane reign of Menu. Sir William Jones has remarked, that the progress 

Fog. Idol. VOL. II. C 



BOOK III. 



18 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATHY. 

of time after the deluge naturally divides itself into four periods : ' and it may 
be observed with equal propriety, that a similar division of time before 
the deluge obviously presents itself as we read the Mosaical history. 
The age of Paradise is the golden age : the age, which succeeded the fall 
while as yet mankind were few in number, is the silver age : the age of the 
Nephilim, or tyrannical and gigantic oppressors of the line of Cain, is the 
brazen age : and the age of the promiscuous intermarriages of the children of 
Cain and the children of Seth, which speedily occasioned an universal law- 
lessness and depravity of manners, is the iron age. * 

2. The legend of the Jains ought, I think, to be understood precisely in 
the same manner : though, as the Hindoo chronologers chiefly describe 
postdiluvian time in their account of the four Yugs; so these Buddhic sec- 
taries, like Ovid, have especially fixed their attention upon antediluvian 
time. 

The first age, as we have recently seen, was that of the ten celestial trees ; 
and the people of it were distinguislied by the name of the supremely happy 
inhabitants of the earth. On the commencement of the second age, the 
miraculous gifts of the heavenly trees were less than in the former age, 
though they still supplied the wants of mankind: but the men of that age 
were inferior in complexion, stature, strength, and longevity ; hence they 
were called the moderately happy inhabitants of the earth. This was fol- 
lowed by the third age: and, during its period, the people wore still more 
straitened in the produce of the celestial trees, as well as again inferior to 
their predecessors in longevity, colour, health, and happiness ; hence they 
were named the least happy inhabitants of the earth. During these three 
periods there were born at different times fourteen Menus ; and the last was 
the father of a personage denominated Vrishabhanatha Tirthacar. In the 
fourth age, no miraculous fruits were produced by the heavenly trees; and, 
when now destruction seemed to be nearly approaching to mankind through 
their disappearance, Tirthacar became incarnate as the son of the four- 
teenth Menu. By his auspicious birth, and by his instructions, the know- 
ledge of good and bad, of possible and impossible, and of the mode of 

' Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 236, 237. * See Gen. vi. 4. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 19 

acquiring the advantages both of earth and heaven, was obtained. He also 
arranged the various duties of mankind, and allotted to men the several 
means of subsistence. In consequence of this arrangement, he became king 
over all mankind, and composed the four sacred books. Thus did he esta- 
blish the religion of the Jains in its four castes, delivering to their care the 
charge of those sacred volumes. He also composed several books on the 
sciences, for the improvement of mankind. After he had settled laws and 
regulations of all sorts, mankind, from that period, began to follow his in- 
stitutions, looking upon him, in every respect, as equal to G od : and, upon 
his departure from this world to the state of the Almighty, his image was 
worshipped as Jain-Eswara.' 

It is easy to perceive, though no direct mention is made of the flood, 
that Tirthacar is the same as Menu-Satyavrata, who was saved in an ark, 
who preserved the arts and sciences of a former world, and who was acknow- 
ledged as the universal sovereign of mankind. The four ages of the Jains 
therefore are antediluvian : but they are not exclusively so ; for, as there 
have already been many similar cycles, so likewise will there be hereafter. 
Numerous have been the Tirthacars of long-expired cycles : and these 
ancient Tirthacars, all of whom like Noah were endowed witli the gift of 
prophecy, foretold the future succession of other Tirthacars who should be 
manifested in the various worlds of the indestructible universe. 

3. These remarks will lead us to understand by analogy the fable of the 
four ages, as it is exhibited by Hesiod with a curious discrepance from the 
same fable as detailed by the Roman poet. 

Hesiod derives the birth of Cronus and his three sons, together with the, 
whole generation both of mortals and of immortals, fi-om that watery chaotic 
mixture, out of which the habitable vvorld was produced. This watery mix- 
ture, which is described as being the origin of all things, is certainly the 
same as the universal deluge, which the Hindoos place between each two 
successive worlds and out of whicli the great father is considered as being 
mysteriously regenerated. The Cronus therefore of Hesiod is the gi-eat 
father, viewed either as Adam or as Noah : for each of those patriarchs was 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 258, 259. 



20 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

'"* equally supposed to have been born out of the watery Chaos at the com- 
mencement of his own peculiar world. 

Now Cronus, after his birth, is said to have flourished during the period 
of the golden age : and tliat age is described by Hesiod in a manner, which 
obviously refers us to the age of Paradise. The golden age is followed by 
the silver age, when a partial deterioration of manners takes place : and men 
are now said to have become inferior to their predecessors, both in nature 
and in understanding. To the silver age succeeds the brazen age, which 
introduces a yet greater and more extensive depravation. The men, who 
lived during that period, were fierce, strong, warlike, and insolent. Their 
hearts were of adamant : their corporeal strength was immense : and their 
nervous arms, firmly knit to their broad shoulders, were irresistible. We 
are now brought to the age of lawless violence: and, when we are in full 
expectation that the iron age will follow and that the World will then be 
dissolved in consequence of the irreclaimable wickedness of its inhabitants, 
we are suddenly presented with a very unlooked for amendment. During a 
fourth age, not iron but heroic, a reformation is effected : and we find our- 
selves unawares in the postdiluvian world. A generation of demi-gods, 
iuster and better than their predecessors, springs up. These are they^ who 
fought against Thebes and Troy. When removed from the present state of 
earthly existence, the almighty father allotted to them for their residence 
the isles of the blessed, which are seated at the very extremity of the earth 
and which are washed by the eddies of the deep ocean.' 

Here then we have a reformation instead of a dissolution : and thus the 
arrangement of Hesiod seei?is to correspond with the Hindoo theory, which 
places more than one cycle of the four ages within the period of each Man- 
wantara. It may therefore be assumed as indisputable, so far at least as the 
letter is concerned, that these four ages of Hesiod are postdiluvian, and 
consequently that his Cronus is Noah. 

But it is just so far as the letter, and no further. If we more attentively 
observe the tradition which he has handed down to us, we shall perceive, 
that the idea of antediluvian times is never once lost, that his four ages 

• Hesiod. Oper, et ilier. lib. i, ver. 120—171. 



THE OHIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 21 

agreeably to the dogma of a succession of similar cycles have a double re- 
ference, and that in effect he makes them like Ovid terminate with the flood. 

He describes his golden age as synchronizing with the formation of Pan- 
dora : for he tells us, that, after her fatal curiosity had been gratified, men 
first began to taste affliction and to experience old age ; to neither of which 
they had been subjected before she opened the casket. Now this precisely 
accords with the change, which he represents as taking place, when the golden 
age terminated and when the silver age commenced. During the former, 
men were free from labour and trouble, and were not liable to the pains and 
decrepitude of old age: but, during the latter, they no longer enjoyed a 
similar exemption.' The golden age of Hesiod then was marked by a free- 
dom from the penalty of death ; for such is evidently implied in the declara- 
tion, that men never tasted sickness and never grew old : and it coincided 
with that period of the first woman's life, which preceded her transgression 
and the consequent introduction of death and calamity.* But this description 
answers only to the Paradisiacal age ; and to that age it minutely answers in 
every particular. Therefore the Paradisiacal age must inevitably be the 
prototype of Hesiod's golden age ; and, when it is thus viewed, his Cronus 
must certainly be Adam. 

If we next pass to his silver age, we shall find this conclusion abundantly 
confirmed. Men are now become mortal : but still their longevity is decidedly 
the longevity, not of postdiluvianism, but of antediluvianism. He speaks of 
tliem, as remaining infants for the space of a whole century, and as afterwards 
having their lives shortened not in the common course of nature but solely 
by the sword of violence. They are cut off in the flower of their youth, after 
a childhood of a hundred years, by bloody feuds and intestine discord, not 
by a peaceful and gradual decay. Could they have abstained from war and 

• Hesiod. Oper. et dicr. lib. i. ver. 83 — 104. ver. 108 — 125. 

* Hesiod does indeed represent his first race, as dying and as afterwards becoming hero- 
gods; but this involves a plain contradiction to what he had previously said, which clearly 
implies an exemption from death. Yet even such a contradiction, palpable as it may seem, 
is after all nothing move than a literal statement of real matter of fact. The first race was 
originally constituted immortal : but, in consequence of sin, they died and (as Hesiod says) 
were buried. They were also (as he no less truly remarks) subsequently deified, and wor- 
shipped as demons by their posterity. See ver. 120 — 125. 



22 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. niutual injuries, their adult lives might have been prolonged in proporlion to 
their infancy : whenever their allotted term was shortened, it was solely, as 
the poet observes, in consequence of their own folly.' Btfort the flood 
men were made mortal ; but it was not until afttr the flood, that their lives 
began to be abbreviated. An infancy of a century can only be said to have 
occuired in antediluvian times: therefore Hesiod's silver age, not merely by 
its succession to his golden age, but likewise by internal evidence furnished 
from itself, must be placed before the deluge. 

His brazen age exhibits tlie transactions of the brazen and iron ages of 
Ovid : and its succession to the golden and silver ages which have been 
shewn to be antediluvian, as well as its own peculiar character of bloodshed 
and licentiousness, proves, that it also must be deemed antecedent to the 
flood. Yet, as I have already observed, when we might least expect it, the 
scene suddenly changes, we are intioduced to the ostensibly postdiluvian 
heroes of Thebes and Troy, and a reformation takes place without any 
literally specified dissolution of the world. But, unless I am greatly mista- 
ken, such a dissolution, though not literally specified, is covertly alluded to in 
this part of the fable : and the corruption of manners, which Hesiod ascribes 
to his brazen age, really ushers in the catastrophe of the deluge. From 
the preceding examination of his chronology it appears, that his three first 
ages, though apparently and with a secondary reference placed after the flood, 
are really and properly antediluvian. This being the case, the reformation 
assigned to the era of Thebes and Troy must coincide in point of time with 
the reformation of manners or the new golden age which succeeded the deluge. 
The fabulous age therefore of Thebes and of Troy must be the age of the 
deluge : or, at least, there must have been some sort of analogical resem- 
blance between the two ages, some common intermixture of tradition ; other- 
wise Hesiod would scarcely have placed the warriors of those two renowned 
cities in the precise chronological epoch where Ovid places the flood.* 

' Hes. Oper. ct dier. lib. i. ver. 126— 13(^. 

* In exact accordance with such an opinion, while Hesiod makes his brazen age terminate 
with the fabulous epoch of the Trojan war, the scholiast on Homer tells us, that Jupiter 
sent a flood to destroy the men of the brazen age. The epoch therefore of the Trojan war 
coincides with the epoch of the deluge. Schol. in Horn. Iliad, lib. i. ver. 10. 



THE OniGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. S3 

This point is not unworthy of a full discussion : and the discussion will ♦^'•*"'* '• 
shew, that the arrangement of Hesiod was neither arbitrary nor accidental. 

(1.) The heroic age of Thebes and Troy must inevitably be understood, 
as comprehending the age of the Argonauts : for Tydeus, the father of Dio- 
niede, is said to have been at the siege of Thebes; Theseus, the first lover 
of Helen, is described as contemporary with Etcocles and Polynices, who 
were conspicuous characters at the same siege ; Castor and Pollux, the bre- 
thren of Helen, are enumerated among the Argonauts ; and Helen herself, 
it need scarcely be observed, was flourishing in complete beauty during the 
siege of Troy. But Helen was born exactly at the same time with Castor 
and Pollux. Therefore Helen, according to the preceding statement, must 
have lived during both the Argonautic expedition, the siege of Thebes, and 
the siege of Troy : and these three celebrated events stand so inseparably 
linked together in the traditions of the ancients, that they must jointly be 
deemed either historically true or mythologically false. It is utterly impossi- 
ble to dissever them from each other : if the one be fictitious, the rest must 
be fictitious; and, if the one be true, the rest must be true also. Thus, if 
Diornede were really at the siege of Troy, there must have been a literal 
siege of Thebes, because there bis father Tydeus signalized himself : and, if 
Helen were really carried off by Paris, there must have been a literal Argo- 
nautic expedition, because her brethren were two of the chosen mariners of 
the Argo. Thus again, on the other hand, if the Argonautic expedition be 
a palpable mythologic fiction, it is plainly impossible, that the two sieves of 
Thebes and Troy should be sober historical realities : because, if Castor and 
Pollux and their adventurous companions in the Argo be mythologic charac- 
ters, Helen cannot be a real one; and, if Helen be not a real one, Diornede 
and the other Grecian chiefs who reclaimed her at the point of the sword 
equally cannot be real characters ; and, if Diomede be a mytholocical cha- 
racter, genuine history can have no concern with his father Tydeus and the 
heroes of the war of Thebes. In short, the events in question must, one and 
all, be false ; or, one and all, be true. No middle way can be selected : 
we must be content to admit them in the mass, or to reject them in the mass. 

Now the whole Argonautic expedition bears upon the very face of it the 
strong impress of mythologic fiction. The sliip Argo, we are told, was the 



BOOK III. 



24 THE ORICrN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

first ship that was ever built. It was likewise, we are assured, no other than 
the Baris or Theba or lunilorm ark of the Egvptian Osiris, within which he was 
inclosed by Typhon or the ocean and thus set afloat on the sacred river Nile. 
But, as Osiris is palpably the same as Noah, so his character likewise iden- 
tifies itself with that of the Indian Iswara or Siva. Hence the ship Arj^o of 
theoue is certainly the ship Argha of the other. The Argha however is in- 
disputably the Ark, because it is said to have sailed over the surface of the 
delude and to have been afterwards changed into a dove. Tlicrefore the 
Argo, as indeed necessarily follows from the character of Osiris, must also 
be the Ark ; a conclusion, which exactly again corresponds with the notion 
that it was the first-constructed vessel. Now, since the Argo or Argha was 
confessedly the ship of Iswara and Osiris, and since its own legendary history 
as coiniected with the legendary histories of those deities proves it to have 
been the Ark of Noah; it clearly follows, that the whole fable of Jason and 
his companions must have been a mere Hellenic fiction, built upon the theolo- 
gical system, which in a considerable degree the Greeks received from 
Egypt. For how could any literal Jason have sailed to Colchis in the sacred 
first-built ship of Iswara and Osiris ? And how could the knowledge of a 
petty voyage, performed by an obscure adventurer of a semibarbarous Hel- 
lenic state, have been diffused, as we have abundant testimony that ii was 
diffused, over the whole both of tiie east and the west. Nothing but the 
genuine Argonautic expedition could have been thus universally celebrated : 
and, when we recollect that the mythology of Greece was altogether derived 
either from the Scythic Pelasgi or the Phenicians or the Egyptians, we may 
rest assured, that the pretended voyage of Jason m the very ship of Osiris 
is but a locally appropriated transcript of the mystic voyage of Osiris or 
Iswara, and that Jason and Osiris and Iswara are all fundamentally one 
and the same character. 

Accordingly, the whole legend both of Jason and his ship affords the most 
satisfactory internal evidence, that it is nothing more than the Hellenized 
history of Osiris and the Argo or of Iswara and the Argha. Jason himself 
is said to have been inclosed in an ark during his infancy like one that was 
dead, in order that he might escape the fury of Pelias; just as Osiris and the 
infant Horus were shut up either in an ark, or a floating island, in order 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 25 

that they might escape the rage of Typhon. In this situation, his imagined 

death was loudly lamented in the night-time by the women of hisfamily; 

just as the allegorical death of Adonis or Osiris (for they were the same 

deity) was bewailed, during the celebration of tlie nocturnal mysteries, 

by the women of Byblos and Egypt. At a subsequent period of his life, he 

becomes the captain of the Argo, which was the identical ship of Osiris ; 

and which, in allusion to the introduction of the Argonautic Orgies from 

Egypt into Greece, is also feigned to have been the vessel which conveyed 

Danaus and his family from the former country to the latter : and, in the 

course of his fabled voyage to Colchis, he on one occasion sends a dove out 

of his ship, and on another receives a dove into it; just as Iswara and 

Argha fly away in the form of doves at the close of the deluge, or rather as 

Noah first sends out a dove and then receives it again into the Ark. Lastly, 

we find him and his companions on the coast of Africa carrying the Argo on 

their shoulders ; precisely as the priests of Ammon or Osiris were wont to 

bear in solemn procession the sacred ship of their oceanic deity. ' 

Thus accurately do these cognate legends correspond in every particular. 
But, though the Greeks seem to have peculiarly borrowed their Argonautic 
expedition from Egypt, there was not a nation on the face of the earth which 
was not more or less acquainted with it. The utterly impossible voyage of 
the Argo, if literally understood, serves only to shew, that in every region, 
to which the not merely licentious imagination of the poets conducts it, a mys- 
terious siiip and a wonderful mariner were devoutly reverenced. And with 
this account of the voyage facts exactly agree. The Argo visited the coast 
of Africa, the western part of Asia, the Danube, the Po, the Baltic, and 
the British isles : and, in all these parts of the world, a ship and a ship-god 
were equally venerated. But, if we admit a literal Argonautic expedition 
from Thessaly to Colchis ; how can we account for the knowledge of this 
little contemptible voyage being thus diffused over the face of the whole 
globe? Its genuine prototype was assuredly the first voyage performed in 
the first-built ship ; that ship, w hich was the work of the eight Cabiri, which 
inclosed Osiris when pursued by the ocean, which bore Iswara in safety 

' See lUis matter discussed at large in my Dissert, on the Cabiri. chap. viii. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. ' D 



CUAP. I. 



S6 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATIIV. 

BOOK III. Qver the waters of the deluge, and which in the earliest ages was placed 
among the constellations with the raven, the hieroglypliical sea-serpent, the 
altar, and the sacrificing Centaur. ' The Argo, in short, was the Ark : and 
the Argonautic expedition, which the Greeks ascribed to a band of Thessa- 
lian adventurers, but which was celebrated in every region of the earth, had 
no real existence, save as the voyage of Noah and his family. 

If then the Argonautic expedition was a mere mythological fiction, built 
altogether on the history of the flood ; it must follow, from the preceding 

' The very position of these remarkable catasterisms may serve to prove, that the history 
of the Argo could not have been written on the sphere by the Greeks : whence it will follow, 
that the fable of the Argonautic expedition was no further a Greek fable than as it was 
adapted to the neighbourhood of Thessaly. 

Canopus, the principal star in the constellation Argo, is only 37 degrees from the south 
pole, and the greatest part of the constellation lies still nearer to it. But the pretended 
courseof the Argoan voyage lay between 39 and 45 degrees of north latitude. Consequently, 
if the sphere had either been constructed by or for the fictitious Argonauts of Hellas, 
the framer would not have given the name of the ship Argo to a constellation, alike 
invisible, at Pagasae whence they are fabled to have set out, and at Colchis whither they 
■were bound. The Argo must assuredly have been placed in the sphere by a nation, which 
dwelt far to the south of Greece, and to which the constellaiion itself was visible. But the 
Argo could not have been placed in the sphere, previous to the existence of its own history. 
Hence it will follow, that the history of the Argo must have been well known to that southern 
nation, anterior to its localized adoption by the Greeks. In other words, the Argonautic 
expedition, as detailed by the Greeks, could never have really taken place: but the whole 
story of it was borrowed from the southern nation, which first placed the ship in the sphere ; 
and it was only so far altered as to wear the aspect of a national Hellenic talc. 

As for the people that originally invented the sphere, I have no doubt that they were the 
Cuthim of Babylonia : and precisely the same argument, which proves the origination of the 
various mythologic systems of Paganism from the common centre of Chaldea, will equally 
prove the origination of the sphei'e from the same region. To omit other coincidences, the 
twelve si^ns of the zodiac perfectly agree both in appellation and in order of succession, whe- 
ther delineated on the sphere of Hindostan or of ancient Egypt or of Greece. But this they 
could not have done, unless the several spheres of those nations had all been framed by one 
and the same people. Such then being the case, we can scarcely hesitate to pronounce, that 
that people were the architects of Babel, and that the sphere thus alike carried off by the 
founders of different nations was itself invented before the dispersion. 

This hypothesis seems to be confirmed by strong internal evidence. As the constellation 
Aroo is plainly the Argha or Ark, and as the neighbouring constellations all relate to the 
hislory of the deluge : so what we now call Oiion and his dogs are apparently the great 



THE ORIGIN OF PAOAV IDOLATRY. 27 

train of reasoning, that the wars of Thebes and Troy cannot be admitted as '^"*^- ^• 
portions of authentic history : for all the three, as it has already been shewn, 
are so inseparably linked together, that they must stand or fall conjointly ; 
if one be a literal matter of fact, all must be literal matters of fact ; if one 
be purely fabulous, all must be purely fabulous. But the age of the Argo- 
nautic expedition is the age of the deluge. Therefore the ages of Thebes and 
of Troy, as they are exhibited to us in poetry, must also be the a^e of the 
deluge; whether we choose, or choose not, to suppose the existence of 
some piratical squabble, which may probably enough have taken place be- 
tw-een the Greeks and the Ilicnsians. Accordingly, the whole history both 
of Thebes and of Troy is diluvian : and I am inclined to believe, that the 
fabled wars of each city are, at least in the first instance, much the same in 
import as the allegorical wars of Typhon and the Titans. 

The name of the Beotian Thebes was confessedly borrowed from tliat of 
the Egyptian Thebes ; and the legendary account of its foundation is built 
entirely upon the worship of the sacred heifer. Cadmus, whom tradition 
brings out of Egypt no less than out of Phenicia, and Mho (as we shall here- 
after see) was the same person as Thoth or Hermes or Buddha, is said to 
have been conducted to the place destined for his future city by a cow, 
which had the figure of the lunar crescent imprinted on its side. Now this 
precisely answers to the description of the bull Apis, which was marked by 
a similar lateral stigma : and, as I have already shewn, the bull and the 
cow were worshipped conjointly as tlie symbols of the great father and the 
great mother. Accordingly we are told, that the heifer of Cadmus was 

hunter Nimrod and his hounds; while the bears, the lions, the linx, and the hare, represent 
the game which he pursued. Cedrenus accordingly scruples not to pronounce Orion and 
Nimrod the same person. Hist. Compcnd. p. 14. I may add, that the Virgo of our present 
sphere is certainly the navicular great mother, who was sometimes mystically deemed a virgin. 
For the Egyptians called her Isis, who was confessedly the same as Ceres : and the Hindoos 
delineate her, as a woman standing in a boat and holding in her two iiands a lamp and an 
ear of corn. This last mode of delineation was, I am persuaded, the original one: but, 
though the Greeks lost the concomitants of the female figure, they accurately preserved the 
mythological notions to which they refer. Their Ceres or Isis was a ship-goddess: she was 
said to have borne a lamp during her nocturnal search for Proserpine, whence lamps were 
introduced into the celebration of her Mysteries; and she was described, as being peculiarly 
the goddess of corn. 



BOOK III. 



^*0 TIIK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

denominated Thcba ; which, in consequence of the hieroglyphical apph'cation 
of that animal, denoted in the dialect of Syria and Egypt both a caw and 
an ark: and we are likewise informed, that the Thebes both of Greece and 
of the upjjer Egypt received its name from the Theba or that mystic arkite 
cow, within which Osiris was once inclosed and set afloat on the Nile. ' 

Such was the fabled origin of the Beotian city : and that of Troy or Ilium 
precisely resembled it. Ilus, the reputed founder of the latter, was directed 
by an oracle to follow the guidance of a cow, and, wheresoever the animal 
should lie down, there to build his projected city. * 

The two stories are so perfectly the same, that we cannot doubt of their 
having arisen from a common mytliological source. Hence the one must be 
interpreted by the other : and, if the Theban legend have respect to the 
prevailing diluvian superstition, such also must be the case with the Trojan 
legend. In fact, the very same mode of worship was established in Asia 
Minor and in Greece: and this again identifies itself with the peculiar 
idolatry both of Egypt and the whole east, or rather indeed of the whole 
world. Ilus was no less a Phenician, than a Trojan, hero-god : and he is 
represented by Sanchoniatho, as being the same as Cronus or the great 
father, with whose golden age every successive world invariably commenced. 
The Ilus of Troas and Phenicia is the masculine Ila of Hindostan, who is 
the same as Buddha or Menu : and the feminine Ila of that country is 
described as being the wife and daughter of the ancient patriarch, who was 
preserved in a ship with seven companions when the earth Avas inundated by 
an universal deluge. She likewise bore the cognate name of Ida; and the 
summit of the Paradisiaco-diluvian Meru was from her denominated Ila- 
vratta or Ida-tratta. It was from these two primeval characters, the mas- 
culine and feminine Ila or Ida, that both the city of Ilium and the sacred 
hill of Ida received their appellations. Ida was the Meru of the Troas : 
and, as Theba and the female Ila were the same mythological character, 
Thebes and Ilium, agreeably to the connnon legend of their foundation, 
were only designated by two different names of one gi-eat mother. 

' Ovid. Mctam. lib. iii. ver. 1—23. Tzctz. in Lycopli. ver. 1206. Etym. Magn. vox 
* ApoUod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 11. Lycoph. Cassan. ver. 29- TzeU. Schol. in loc. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 29 

In exact accordance with such fictions, which the Thebans, the Ilicnsians, 
the Phenicians, the Egyptians, and the Hindoos, have severally by local 
appropriation made their own, the old liistory of the Trojans, which is so 
genealogically connected with the war of Troy that they must be accepted 
or rejected together, finally and literally, like the fabulous early history of 
all other ancient nations, resolves itself into the deluge. 

Thus Dardanus, one of their first pretended kings, w as believed to have 
previously been a king of Arcadia, and to have escaped from a flood which 
inundated his dominions. Driven from Arcadia, he took refuge in Samo- 
thrace, the peculiar country of the Cabiri ; who were esteemed the builders 
of tlie first ship, and who were reported to have consecrated to Neptune 
the relics of the ocean or delude : ' and from Samothrace he removed to 
Troy, having, according to some, escaped another flood, Avhich laid that 
sacred island under water, and which is declared to have been the very same 
as that of Deucalion. ^ His latter escape is evidently a mere reduplication 
of the former: each is equally a local fable, the one Arcadian, the other 
Samothracian, built on the history of the general deluge. Thus also Tennes, 
another of the fictitious princes of Troy, was said to have been set afloat in 
an ark on the surface of the ocean, and to have afterwards safely landed on 
the island of Tenedos. ' Now this is nothing more than an exact counterpart 
of the legend of Dionusus or Bacchus, who was specially venerated by the 
Thebans, and whose ^Mysteries were thought to have been brougiit by Cad- 
mus out of Eg}'pt. While the god was yet an infant, he was inclosed in an 
ark and cast into the sea; but, like Tennes, he drifted to land without re- 
ceiving any injury from his perilous exposure. 

All such parallel tales, which occur perpetually in the mythology of the 
ancients and which have thence been adopted into modern romance both 
ecclesiastic and heroic,* are nothing more than local appropriations of a 
general history; which equally concerns all mankind, because it is the his- 

' Dion. Halic. AiU. Rom. lib. i. c. 6l. Euseb. Prsep. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. 

Tzetz. in Lycopb. ver. 29, 69. 
' Conon. Narrat. xxix. 

♦ The holy Cuthbert and the redoubtable Amadis were equally set afloat in an ark. Vide 
infra book v. c. 8. jj I. 1. II. 7. 



30 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAK IDOLATRY". 

•ooK jii. tory of the primitive ancestors of every nation upon tlie face of the earth. 
Agreeably to this hypothesis, Hesiod, we find, places the deceased heroes of 
Thebes and of Troy in the sacred isles of the blessed, which he describes as 
being washed by the waves of the great western ocean. But those isles, as 
M'e have already seen, were the fabled Elysium of the poets : and they 
doubly symbolized Paradise and the Ark. Hence tliere was a notion, that, 
somehow or other, they were the same as the Egyptian Thebes : by which 
nothing more was meant, than that each of them shadow ed out a Tlieba or 
Ila-vratta. By the Hindoos they are considered as the residence of the Pi- 
tris or patriarchal forefathers of mankind, a\ ho d^elt in Paradise and who were 
preserved from the deluge. Hence it was not without reason, that Hesiod 
makes them the abode of those Theban and Trojan worthies ; whose age 
was the age of the Argonautic expedition, whose history stands in insepara- 
ble connection with legends of the deluge, and who are placed in a period 
of reformation immediately successive to a period of universal corruption 
that followed the two ages of silver and of gold. 

In short, if Homer's poem has been founded on any predatory \Aar which 
took place between the Hellenes and the Iliensians, a circumstance not impro- 
bable ; he has certainly embellished it by an immediate connection with the 
hero-gods of the old diluvian theology. Such a mode of treating a subject is 
by no means without parallel ; and indeed was almost the necessary conse- 
quence of that humour, which bestowed upon men the titles of tlie gods, 
and Avhicli considered the initiated as scenically exhibiting in their own per- 
sons all the allegorical sufferings of the deified patriarchs. Thus the actions 
of the ancient mythological Arthur, who Avas saved in a ship with seven 
companions at the time of an universal inundation, have been blended with 
the history of the British prince who at a long subsequent period was decor- 
ated or disguised by that pagan title : and thus the arkite demi-gods of Cel- 
tic theology, and the mystic circle of Ida or Ceridwen, have been con- 
verted into the romantic heroes of chivalry and the far-famed military bro- 
therhood of the round table.' 

' It docs not appear to inc, that Mr. Bryant's hading idea on this subject has ever been 
really confuted. Though it is only agreeable to the chaiacler of the times, that there may 
have been a marauding war between the warlike pirates of the two opposite coasts of Europe 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 51 

(2.) On the whole, the four first ages of Hesiod, ^nlh the remarkable sub- 
sequent addition of his fifth age, may be considered as exhibiting a very cu- 
rious instance of the doctrine of a succession of similar worlds compre- 
hending similar cycles : for they shew an attempt to blend together into one 
narrative the antediluvian and the postdiluvian series of ages. 

He deduces his whole theogony from Chaos, which he makes the becrin- 
ning of the World : but his Cronus or great father, as evei-y part of that 
god's history demonstrates, is at least as much a transcript of Noah as of 
Adam ; and his chaotic ocean, which appears as the common parent of the 
hero-gods, cannot be more deemed the Chaos out of which the World was 
originally formed, than the deluge out of m hich it emerged at the time of 
what was esteemed its new formation. His three first ages are characteris- 
tically antediluvian : yet he brings them down to a fourth heroic age of the 
Theban and Trojan wars, at which time he places a moral reformation, that, 
we know, only occurred immediately after the flood : and then, when we 
seem to be fairly in a postdiluvian period, \ve find ourselves, through its in- 
separable connection with the ship Argo or Argha, to be suddenly transported 
back to the identical awful catastrophe which Ovid rightly places at the termi- 
nation of his iron age. Lastly, as if the poet were thoroughly bewildered 
with his own arrangement and yet conscious that he himself Avas livin<^ ia 
any thing rather than a golden age, he proceeds to lament that he had been 
thrown into a fifth age which might well deserve the name of an iron one : 

and Asia, and though some such war may have been adopted by Homer as the basis of his 
poem ; it is impossible to admit, that the Iliad is as nearly allied to authentic history as the 
Jerusalem of Tasso or even as ihc Orlando of Ariosto. The actors in perhaps a literal war 
as exhibited in the great poem of the Hellenic bard, can scarcely be received as literal charac- 
ters themselves, when we view their immediate connection with the Argo, with the deluge, and 
with the gods of Egypt and Pheniciaand Hindostan. I cannot but think it very inconclusive 
reasoning, though it has been hailed with loud applause, to argue the actual existence of Ho- 
mer's heroes, under the circumstances which he attributes to them, from the accuracy of his 
local descriptions, even if that accuracy had not been considerably exacoeratcd. By asimi- 
lar process I will undertake to demonstrate the exploits of Brute, Corincus, and other British 
worthies, to be manifest historical verities. The local accuracy of a poet may prove that he 
had visited the country where he lays his plot and that he had availed himself of the established 
popular legends ; but I see not what it can prove more. 



CHAP. I. 



• OOK III. 



32 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

but at the same time he uses language, which necessarily involves the doc- 
trine ; that each series of ages was always followed by another similar series, 
and that, when the iron age had arrived, it would be speedily followed by a 
better age of gold." 

V. The remote antiquity and veiy general reception of the fable of the 
four ages, also the application of it as a cycle ending in a reform of manners, 
may, I think, be collected from Scripture itself. 

In Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the great image, the head of gold, the 
breast and the arms of silver, the belly and the thighs of brass, and the 
legs of iron, exhibit the four successive ages of four sovereignties : and, 
when at length those four ages have fully expired, and « hen the four sove- 
reignties have been swept away from off the face of the earth ; a new age 
and a new kingdom of pure and holy nianners, the age and the kingdom of 
Messiah and his saints, are described as commencing. 

It is worthy of observation, that in this symbolical prophecy, though the 
legs of the image are of pure iron, his feet are of iron mixed with earthy 
clay. Such a mode of painting, though it admirably represents what has 
really happened, is yet in strict correspondence Avith ideas, which must have 
been perfectly familiar to the pagan king of Babylon. The last age, though 
usually known as the age of iron, is denominated by the Hindoos the age of 
earths Into the vision each hieroglyphic is curiously introduced : and, by 
the combined use of the two, such a modification of the iron age is ex- 
hibited as best shadoAved out the realities of futurity. 

Even the peculiar symbol of the great statue itself has been adopted with 
the strictest regard to congruily. It is nearly allied to the gigantic image, 
which the king caused to be erected in the plain of Dura. This image was 
one of those stupendous statues of ]\Ienu or Buddha or Jain, m inch the 
toiling devotion of ancient Paganism delighted to set up. ]\fany, particu- 
larly in the east, are still in existence : and the personage, whom they rc- 

■ He expresses a wisli, that he had cither died before or lived after the iron ago, in which he 
had the ill luck to be placed. But, if his lot would ha\e been mended by living after it, then 
of course he must have expected that his iron age would Uihcr in a renovated golden age. 
Oper. ct dier. lib. i. vcr. 172 — 174. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 236. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 33 

presented, was he ; who reigned indeed through all the four ages, but who *^"'*^''- 
visibly nmanifested himself only in that of gold.' Thus exact is the hiero- 
glyphic in all its parts. 

' As a king was esteemed the immediate representative of the universal sovereign I^Ienu, 
who reigns either visibly or invisibly through all the four ages, he is described in the Institutes 
of Menu as being inseparably connected with them. Jll the ages, called Safya, Treta, 
Dwapara, and Kali, depend on the conduct of the king ; who is declared in turn to represent 
each of those four ages. Sleeping, he is the Kali age ; uaking, he is the Dwapara ; exerting 
himself in action, the Treta; living virtuously, the Satya. Instit. of Menu. chap. ix. p. 284. 
In a similar manner, Nebuchadnezzar's great image extends or reigns through all the four ages, 
»Dd is himself represented by them conjointly. 



Pag. Idol. VOL. n. 



CHAPTER II. 



Miscellaneous pagan traditiotn relative to the period between the 

creation and the deluge. 



1 HE Gentiles have preserved various traditions relative to the period be- 
tween the creation and the deluge, which from their miscellaneous 
nature will best be noticed conjointly under a single division of my sub- 
ject. 

I. I have frequently had occasion to observe, that, according to the theory 
of a succession of similar worlds, the great father and his three sons con- 
stantly reappear by transmigration at the commencement of every new mun- 
dane system : whence Noah and his triple offspring were considered only as 
a revival of Adam and his triple offspring; while the latter were deemed no- 
thing more, than one of the numerous manifestations of the self-triplicating 
great fatlier. 

Thus Brahma, Vishnou, and Siva, the three sons of the Indian Brahm, 
are proved to be the three sons of Noah, both by a large part of their his- 
tory which is clearly diluvian, and by the very names which they bear in ad- 
dition to their ordinary titles : for Vishnou is called Soma or Shem ; Siva, 
Ham and Cama which correspond with the scriptural Ham and Cham ; and 
Brahma, Pra-Japati or the lord Japhet. Yet are they also declared to be 
the sons of the first Menu, who is denominated Swayambhuva ; and not only 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 35 

his sons, but likewise, still under the very names of Sama, Cama, and ""*''■ "' 
Pra-Japati, the sons of ei^erj/ transmigrating Menu without exception.' Now 
the first Menu is declared to have been tlie son of the Self-existent, whence 
he bore the title of Swayambhu-oa. He was called moreover Adima ; w hile 
the consort, assigned to him, was known by the appellation of Iva.* It is 
plain therefore, that he is the scriptural Adam. Consequently, his three 
sons, the Sama, Cama, and Pra-Japati, of his peculiar world, are Seth, 
Cain, and Abel 

Such a conclusion is firmly established by a curious legend, which I have 
already had occasion to notice at large. With respect to this legend, we are 
told in one fable, that the first Menu had three daughters and two sons, who 
were particularly distinguished. What became of the third son, or in what 
manner his brethren were distinguished, it does not inform us, except that 
the Deity descended from heaven to be present at a sacrifice which they of- 
fered up.' But the deficiency in both respects is amply supplied by other 
fables. From them we learn, that, Brahma becoming incarnate, the first 
woman Satarupa or Iva sprang out of one half of his body, and the first 
man Adima or Menu-S\vayambhuva out of the other half. This pair had 
three sons : Dacsha, or B)-ahma in a human shape ; Siva, under the appella- 
tion of Cardama or Capita or Cabil, which last is the Mohammedan name 
of Cain; and Vishnou, under the title of Ruchi. Of these, Cardama or 
Cardam-Eswara, the destructive power united to a form of clay, finding 
his brother Brahma in the mortal character of Dacsha, slew him as 
he was performing a sacrifice, and thus reduced the number of tlie sons of 
Adima to two agreeably to the specification of the former fable. Dacsha, 
it is added, had previously reviled his antagonist, m ishing that he might al- 
ways remain a vagabond on the face of the earth.* Thus, in one point of 
view, Adima had three sons; and, in another, only two. Now, in exact 
accordance with these varying numbers, the traditionary history of the Pura- 
nas is constructed. It is asserted in them, that from Cardama, Dacsha, 

> Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 254, 255. 

• Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. Il6. vol. viii. p. 254. vol. v. p. 250, 252. 

' Asiiit. Res. vol. ii. p. l\G, ♦ Asiat. Res. vol. vi, p. 472^77* 



BOOX III. 



35 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT, 

and Ruchi, the earth was filled with inhabitants : yet in the same Puranas 
we are told, that Brahma, being disappointed, found it necessary to give two 
sons to Adima, from whom at last the earth was filled with inhabitants- 
These two sons were Priyavrata and Uttanapada ; who, as Mr. Wilford 
justly remarks, appear to be the same with Cardama and Ruchi or Cain 
and Seth. ' In short, what sufficiently shews the true character of the famous 
Hindoo triad which is manifested as the triple offspring of the great father at 
the commencement of every world, it is fairly acknowledged by the Brahme- 
nical theologists, that the three sons of Menu-Swayambhuva are incarnations 
of the Trimurti ; and it is generally declared in the Puranas, that they 
were created by the Deity to marry the three daughters of the first man, 
with a view to avoid the defilement of human conception, gestation, and 
birth.* 

The classical Cronus or Saturn, considered as flourishing during the real 
golden age, when men were exempt from sin and disease and death, when 
they innocently appeared in a state of nudity, and when they conversed with 
the brute creation, is evidently the first Menu or Adima of the Hindoos ; 
while he is no less evidently their Menu-Satyavrata, if considered in his dilu- 
vian character. Hence, as Swayainbhuva is denominated Adima ; so we 
learn from Stephanus of Byzantium, that one of the eastern names of Cronus 
was Adan.^ 

II. The preceding Hindoo legend may serve to explain a tradition respect- 
in" the Cabiri. 

These are sometimes described, as being eight in number, in allusion to 
the whole family of the great father ; sometimes, when the most ancient Ca- 
biric gods are spoken of, as only two, a male and a female, who are the 
great father and the great mother; and sometimes as three brethren, in re- 

' Asiat. Res. vol. v. p. 249, 250. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 254. 

' Stcph. dc urb. Von Sav«. It is rather a curious anecdote, that Bochart, in a con- 
ference with Gale, allowed the propriety of referring the character of Cronus to Adam ; but 
owned, that he had purposely omitted the stories which induced such an opinion, because 
they contradicted his system which would make Cronus to be exclusively Noah. Had Bo- 
chart possessed that key to pagan mythology, the doctrine of a succession of similar worlds, 
he would have perceived, that this management was no less unnecessary than disingenuous. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 37 

ference to the triple offspring of the gi'eat parents. Their history proves *^"*''- "• 
them to have chiefly been the arkite liero-deities : but, since the doctrine 
of a succession of similar worlds was the very basis of pagan theology, we 
are not to imagine that they were exclusively diluvian gods. The three Ca- 
biric brethren wer<. the same as the Trimurti or triplicated great god of the 
Hindoos: they represent indeed the three sons of Noah; but they do not, on 
that account, the less represent also the three sons of Adam. Accordingly, 
as one of the persons of the Trimurti, when incarnate in the triple offspring 
of Swayambhuva or Adima, is said to have been slain by his brother at the 
time of a solemn sacrifice: so, with a slight variation, one of the three Ca- 
biri is represented as having been murdered by his two brethren. It is 
added in the legend, that after his death he was, by the fratricides, conse- 
crated as a god at the foot of mount Olympus ; that, stained as he had been 
with blood, the Thessalians worshipped him with bloody hands ; and that 
the slaughter of a brother by his brothers was esteemed a sacred mystery in 
the Orgies of the Corybantes.' These particulars confirm the supposition, 
that the fable originated from the death of Abel. The INIysteries of the an- 
cients were a scenic exhibition of the events of Paradise and the deluge : 
the early transactions of two worlds were blended together into one 
drama, agreeably to the doctrine of a perpetual succession of similar mun- 
dane systems : and mount Olympus, where the slaughtered Cabirus is feigned 
to have been consecrated, A\'as, as I have already shewn, one of the many 
local transcripts of Meru or Ilapus; that is to say, of the Paradisiaco- 
diluvian mount Ararat. 

It is not impi'obable, that, on the same principle of double allusion, tlie 
murder of Osiris by his brother Typhon, and the detrusion of Pluto into 
Hades by his brother Jupiter, may each, though severally adapted to the 
history of the deluge, have an ultimate reference to the slaughter of 
Abel. 

III. We may observe a similar fable in the early mythological history of 
the Atlantians. 

Hyperion, one of the sons of their reputed first king Uranus, is said to 

• Jul. Firm, de error, prof. rel. p. 23, 2 1. Arnob, adv, gent. lib. v, p. 169. Clera. Alex. 
Cohort, p. 12. 



38 THfe ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK ui. j^^yg tjggj^ murdered by his brethren: but the legend, as is usually the case, 
is mingled with diluvianism; for Hyperion is described as being the father 
of the Sun and the Moon, and his child the Sun is feigned to have been 
plunged by the Titans into the sacred river Eridanus.' This last circum- 
stance is the same as the consignment of Osiris to the Nile; for the Nile 
and the Eridanus and the Ganges were equally deemed holy streams, were 
equally symbolical of the deluge, and were equally represented as bearing on 
their waves the Argo or Argha or ship of the great father. Osiris, like the 
offspring of Hyperion, was astronomically the Sun ; but in reality he was a 
mere human character: and the many incongruous tales of the Sun being 
plunged in a lake or a river, being set afloat in a ship on the surface of the 
ocean, or being compelled to take refuge from the fury of the ocean in a 
wonderful floating island, have all arisen from applying the literal history of 
a man to his sidereal representative. Thus, in the present instance, the two 
children of Hyperion, though styled Hdius and Selene, are first represented 
as being nothing more than mortals : but, after their death, they are said to 
have been received among the gods and to have been identified with the Sun 
and Moon. The actions and sufferings therefore, ascribed to the two hea- 
venly bodies, were in fact only actions and sufferings, which had once been 
performed and undergone upon earth. 

IV. It is a remarkable circumstance, if we may venture to give credit to 
it, that the Iroquois, a savage nation of America, should have ac- 
curately preserved a tradition of the primeval history now under considera- 
tion. 

They are said to believe, that the first woman was seduced from her obe- 
dience to God ; and that, in consequence of it, she was banished from heaven. 
She afterwards bore twosons. One of these, having armed himself with an 
offensive weapon, attacked and slew the other, who was unable to resist his 
superior force. More children afterwards sprang from the same woman, who 
— were the ancestors of all mankind. * 

V. In the legendary history of the Atlantians, Uranus is fabled to have 
had many sons : but three only are mentioned by name, Atlas, Cronus, and 

• Diod. Bibl. lib. iii. p. 191, 192. ' Moeurs des sauvages, torn. i. p. 43. 



THE ORICIV OF PAGAN I0OLATUV. S9 

Hyperion; who, as we have just seen, was thought to have been murdered cha*. u. 
by his brethren. These three, standing in this connection, are evidently those 
three sons of Adam, of whom alone the names have been handed down to 
us; and the murder of Hyperion is the murder of the righteous Abel. 

Such an opinion will receive additional strength, as we advance further in 
the history ; mixed as it doubtless is, according to the established system of 
theologizing, with clear references to the deluge. After the death of Hype- 
rion, his brethren divided among them the kingdom of their father Uranus. 
Of these Atlas and Cronus were the most renowned ; and to the lot of the 
former fell those western regions, which border upon the ocean. Atlas was 
a learned astronomer, and communicated his name to a celebrated mountain 
within his dominions, the top of which he employed as an observatory. Like . 

his father Uranus, he also had a numerous family: but, among them, his son 
Hesperus was by far the most eminent in piety towards the gods and in jus- 
tice and philanthropy towards his subjects. Hesperus addicted himself to 
the same philosophical pursuits as his parent : and, having one day ascended 
the summit of Atlas to make his wonted observations on the stars, he was 
suddenly carried away by a violent whirlwind and never more appeared in the 
haunts of men. The people, venerating his memory on account of his ex- 
traordinary virtue, enrolled him among the immortals, and worshipped the 
new deity in the beautiful star of evening. ' 

It is almost superfluous to observe, that we have here commemorated, as 
the next remarkable event after the murder of Abel, the miraculous transla- 
tion of Enoch : and, that the two Atlantian legends are to be thus understood, 
will incontestably appear, when we find, as I shall presently have occasion 
to shew, that the whole series of events, of which they form a part, is une- 
quivocally placed before the submersion of the old world. 

VI. Precisely the same circumstance occurs in the antediluvian history of 
the Hindoos; and it occurs also in the very same connection. 

A son of Adima and Iva kills his brother at a sacrifice : and, after the 
death of that holy personage, the earth is peopled by the descendants of the 
two surviving brethren. One of these has a son named Z)/jn<t;(i; who, in 

• Dioil. Bibl. lib, iii. p. 193, l^i. 



BOOK III. 



40 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

consequence of the unjust partiality which his father shews to his elder brother 
Uttama, retires into a forest on the banks of the Jumna. Here he gives 
himself up to the contemplation of the Supreme Being and to the performance 
of religious austerities. His extraordinary piety gains the favour of God : 
and, after delivering many salutary precepts to mankind, he is translated to 
heaven without tasting death ; where he still shines conspicuous in the polar 
star.* 

The close resemblance between these two legends of the Atlantians and 
the Hindoos proves them to have originated from a common source : and that 
source can only have been the ancient patriarchal history of Enoch, with 
which the family of Noah must have been well acquainted long before the 
composition of the Pentateuch. 

VII. The character of the Atlantian astronomer Hesperus melts into that 
of his philosophical father Atlas : and Enoch, thus exhibited, is manifestly 
the Edi'is of the east and the Idris of the Celtic Britons. 

Edris is declared by the oriental writers to be the same person as Enoch ; 
who, like the Atlantian Hesperus, is described as being a skilful astronomer 
and as making his observations on the summit of a lofty hill : and Idris, 
according to the old legends of the Druids, was also an eminent astronomer, 
who pursued his favourite studies on the top of a high peak which from him 
still bears the appellation of Cader Idris or the chair of Idris. This last 
personage was thought, like Atlas, to have been of a gigantic stature : and 
the general coincidence between the two fables is such, that ^ve can scarcely 
doubt Cader Idris to have been viewed by the Celts in exactly the same light 
as Mount Atlas was by the Africans. ' But the astronomer Hesperus is 
proved by his history to be Enoch ; and the oriental astronomer Edris is 
acknowledged to be the same patriarch. We may therefore safely conclude, 
that he is also shadowed out under the character of the British astronomer 
Idris. 

1. At this point, the righteous Enoch will be found, in the legends of the 
Gentiles, to melt insensibly into a more recent preacher of repentance, the 
patriarch Noah. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. v. p. 252. * Davies's Celtic Research, p. 173, 17^. 



THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATllY. ,41 

Such a circumstance, the reality of which seems to me indisputable, per- <="*■'•"• 
fectly harmonizes with the notion, that the great father is not only manifested 
at the commencement of every new world, but that he repeatedly appears 
by transmigration in the person of each eminent reformer during the conti- 
nuance of his own proper mundane system. Thus, of the seven primeval 
Menus, we are told, that the first was IMenu-Swayambhuva or Adam; and 
the last, Menu-Satyavrata or Noah, for he is described as having been pre- 
served in an ark during the prevalence of an universal deluge. Between 
Adam therefore and Noah, the Hindoos place five Menus, or five supposed 
manifestations of the great father in the persons of five principal antediluvian 
saints. 

It were an idle waste of time to attempt to ascertain what precise five 
patriarchs they mean by these five intermediate Menus; because I am per- 
suaded, that the arl)itrary number seven, which equally occurs in the next 
series of Menus, has been borrowed firom the seven members of each of the 
two great primeval families : but, when we recollect the holy character of the 
scriptural Enoch, and when we find that the memory of his righteousness 
and consequent translation has been accurately preserved at the two opposite 
extremities of Asia and Africa, we can scarcely doubt that he at least would 
be esteemed one of the five antediluvian appearances of Menu. Enoch 
therefore and Noah were each viewed as a manifestation of the great father : 
the one, to give timely warning to the world; the other, to preside over its 
destruction and Venovation. 

The two patriarchs being thus mystically identified, it is natural to con- 
clude that their two characters will be so intimately blended together as 
nearly to be amalgamated : and this, accordingly, we shall find to have been 
the case : the history of Noah is perpetually decorated with the most remark- 
able event in that of Enoch ; and Enoch, while we gaze upon him as exhi- 
bited by the Gentiles, assumes imperceptibly the aspect of his successor 
Noah. 

^2. Mount Atlas and Cader Idris were each a transcript of Meru or the 

Paradisiaco-diluvian Ararat : and Noah was supposed to be as much addicted 

to the study of astronomy as his ancestor Enoch. From this intercommunion 

of character, the early Christians believed Edris or Enoch to be the same as 

Pag, Idol. VOL. II. F 



42 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. 'pjjQj.ii or Hermes. ' Nor were tlicy far mistaken in their opinion : for Thoth 
is certainly the eastern Buddha; and Buddha or Menu, in his different suc- 
cessive manifestations, is at once Adam and Enoch and Noah. Idris 
therefore and Hesperus, on the summits of Cader Idris and Atlas, are in- 
deed Enoch ; but they are likewise Noah and Adam, each on the top of the 
primeval Ararat. 

3. The identity of Thoth and Buddha cannot be doubted : and, when 
their history is inquired into, it can be as little doubted, that they are 
severally the great father, who is primarily Adam and secondarily Noah. 
But the character of these deities runs into that of Idris or Edris : and, as 
they appear no less than he to be the patriarch Enoch, so he no less than they 
will prove also to be the great father who was manifested at the commencement 
of both worlds. 

In allusion to the triple offspring of Adam and Noah, the oriental Buddha 
was believed to have triplicated himself, and is pronounced to be the same as 
the triad springing from unity. Mach the same idea seems to have been en- 
tertained of Thoth or Hermes, as we may collect from the title of Thrice-great- 
est which was bestowed upon him : for, as his identity with Buddha may be 
distinctly proved from other considerations, and as Buddha was esteemed a 
triple deity, the descriptive title of Thoth must obviously be understood as 
relating to his supposed triplication. 

Now we may trace the existence of a similar opinion respecting Idris. 
At the foot of the British mountain which still bears his name, there is a lake; 
once, like other lakes in the same country, deemed sacred. In the Myste- 
ries, a lake was a constant symbol of the deluge: a small island reposing 
on its bosom, frequently an artificial floating island, represented the Ark : 
and any lofty hill in its immediate vicinity shadowed out mount Ararat. But 
each of these had a further reference to yet earlier times : and, while the hill 
typified the hill of Paradise which coincided indeed geographically with 
Ararat, the lake was a copy of that lake of the hero-gods from which issued 
the four rivers of Paradise, and the island denoted the literal greater World 
which like the smaller arkite World was supposed to float after the manner of 

• Stanly's Hist, of Chakl. Philosoph. p, 36. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 43 

a huge ship on the surface of the abyss. The peak then of Idris was a tran- *="*'"• "• 
script of the Paradisiaco-diluvian mountain ; and, with the neighbouring lake, 
was devoted in old times to the celebration of the Druidical Orgies, which were 
precisely the same as those of the Samothracian Cabiri and the Egyptian Isis. 
By the side of this lake, there are yet shewn three gigantic stones, called 
Tri Greienyn. The popular notion is, that these were three grains of sand, 
which the vast giant Idris shook carelessly out of his shoe before he ascended 
the chair of his mountain observatory : but IVIr. Davies justly supposes, 
that they derived their name from Greian which signifies the Sun, whence 
the Apollo Gryneus of the Greeks. They were, I believe, three ambrosial or 
solar stones, of a similar description to those by which Buddha or Thoth or 
Hermes w as represented in every quarter of the globe : and they were dedi- 
cated to the triple great father or to the three aboriginal patriarchs, each of 
whom, in inseparable conjunction with their common parent, was elevated 
to the solar orb. Thus the Hindoos tell us, that Brahma, Vishnou, and 
Siva, are the Sun in his three diflerent altitudes ; and that their father, the 
yet higher god Brahm, is the same : while we are additionally assured, that 
Om or the Trimurti mysteriously unite together in the person of Buddha.' 

In tliis opinion respecting the three stones of Idris I am the more confirmed 
by the existence of other points of resemblance between him and the hero- 
gods with whom I believe he ought to be identified. His supposed gigantic 
stature exactly corresponds with the similar gigantic stature, which is ascribed 
to Buddha, Jain, Mahiman, and Atlas; and which probably came to be 
thus ascribed, from the custom of representing the great father by enormous 
stone images : while his reputed astronomical knowledge is the very know- 
ledge, which Thoth, Buddha, Atlas, Edris, and Hesperus, were each be- 
lieved to possess in a peculiarly eminent degree. The mountain also of 
Idris corresponds with tlie African mountain of Adas and Hesperus, and 
with the no less famed Ceylonic mountain of Buddha or Gautama!). When 
used for religious purposes, it was, I have little doubt, a lunar or Para- 
disiacal mountain ; and, when employed by the Druids for astronomical 
observations, it was so employed by them as the legitimate successors and 

' Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 144. vol, v. p. 251. vol. i, p. 284, 285, 28t). Celtic Research, 
p. 173. 174. 



JtOOK III, 



44 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATHY. 

representatives of the great father, who was ever deemed a highly scientific 
character. Its mixed application to religion and astronomy, whicli two 
were from the first inseparably blended together in the mythological system 
of the pagans, perfectly agrees with the similar application of the artificial 
montiform temples of the ancients, and thus again connects Idris with the 
Egyptian Thoth. The tower of Babel, the pyramids of Egypt, and the 
pagodas of Hindostan, were all built to imitate and commemorate the 
mountain, Avhere Paradise once flourished and where the Ark afterwards 
rested ; for the Erahmens rightly and explicitly tell us, that every edifice of 
that form is to be esteemed a copy of mount Meru : and there is reason to 
believe, that they have all been equally used as observatories.' It was the 
early study of astronomy, that depicted on the sphere the history of the ship 
Argo and the deluge, that elevated the great father and his sons to the solar 
orb, and that adopted the boat-like crescent of the INIoon as the most apt 
symbol of the Ark. The scientific Idris on the top of his favourite moun- 
tain is no other, than the scientific Thoth on the summit of the imitative 
pyramid ; while Thoth again is the same as Atlas or Hesperus on the top of 
the natural observatory of Mauritania. In fact, I see no reason why we 
should dispute the universal tradition, which ascribes both to Enoch and to 
Noah an intimate acquaintance with astronomy. The long lives of the ante- 
diluvians almost precluded the possibility of ignorance : and we know, that, 
at no very remote period after the flood, that science was cultivated with 
assiduity and success both in Babylonia and in Egypt. 

4. Idris therefore, or Edris, or Enoch, being esteemed one of the mani- 
festations of Menu, melts insensibly into the character both of Adam and 
of Xoah : and, on the other hand, for a similar reason, we find the memo- 
rable translation of the antediluvian saint, ascribed to that ancient personage 
who was supposed to appear at the commencement of every renovated world. 
From the summit of the lofty hill in Ceylon, which bears the name oi Adains 
peak, Buddha is said by his votaries to have been miraculously snatched 
away to heaven : yet one Buddha is most assuredly Noah or Menu-Satyavrata; 
and another, his earliest predecessor, is no less assuredly Adam or JNIenu- 

' Vide infra book v. c. 7. § II. 1. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 45 

Swayambiiuva. This legend is palpably the same as that of the rapture of 
Hesperus from the top of mount Atlas : nor is it without reason, that the 
IMohanimedans style the Ceylonic hill the peak of Adam, and believe that 
the person who thence ascended \vas the protoplast. Just as mount Atlas is 
immediately connected both with flic deluge and with the Paradisiacal garden 
of the Hesperides; so is the Ceylonic hill the sacred abode of Buddha, in his 
character both of Adam and of Noah. It is the Ararat or Meru of the 
Singalese : and the great father is reported to have been translated from its 
summit, only because Enoch was believed to have been one of his interme- 
diate antediluvian manifestations.' 

5. The religion of Euddha or Sacya or Xaca has spread itself far north- 
ward among the Calmucks, as well as southward among the Singalese: and 
the same legend of his translation has been preserved by the former, no less 
than by the latter, people. Among other idols, says Van Strahlenberg, 
thej/ worship in a peculiar manner one, which they call Xaca or Xaca- 
Muni. They say, that four thousand years ago he was only a sovei'eign 
prince in India; hut, on account of his unparalleled sanctity, God had 
taken him up to heaven alive.'' Thus miriiculously is Buddha believed to have 
been translated : yet he is declared to have lived, during the period of one of 
his manifestations, at the time of the deluge ; he is styled Narayana or the 
dweller upon the xvaters ; he is identified with a person, who is called the 
sovereign prince in the belly of the fsh; he is said to have espoused 11a, 
who communicated her name to the summit of Meru and whose father was 
preserved in an ark; and he is himself that very father, both because I\Ie- 
nu is described as espousing his own daughter Ila, and because Xaca incor- 
porates with his own appellation that of Aluni or Menu. ' 

6. Precisely the same story is told of the Babylonian Xisuthrus; and I 
account for it precisely in the same manner. When the vessel, in which he 
had been preserved from the fury of the deluge, grounded, in consequence of 
the recess of the waters, on the side of a lofty mountain in Armenia, he quit- 
ted it with his wife and his children ; and, constructing an altar, immediately 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 50. Purcli. Pilgr. b. v, c. 18, p. 550. 

* Van Sliahlcnberg's Siberia, p. 409. 

' Abiat, Res. vol. vi. p. 479. vol. ii. p. 376. 



46 THE ORIGIN OV PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

COOK III. worshipped the universal mother Earth, and offered sacrifices to the immortal 
gods. After these rites had been duly performed, Xisuthrus, and (it is added) 
those who came with him out of the ship, suddenly disappeared. The re- 
mainder of the crew, finding that they did not return, called with many la- 
mentations on the name of Xisuthrus. Him however they saw no more : 
but they distinctly heard iiis voice in the air, admonishing them to venerate 
the gods, and informing them that on account of his piety he had been thus 
miraculously taken up to heaven. ' I may remark, that Xisuthrus is trans- 
lated from the summit of an Armenian mountain, as Buddha and Hesperus 
respectively ascend from the tops of the Ceylonese and Mauritanian peaks. 
The stories have all originated from the same source, and relate to the same 
compound personage. Mount Atlas, Cader Idris, the peak of Adam, and 
the various sacred buildings of a pyramidal form, are equally copies of 
that Armenian Ararat, which is feigned to have witnessed the translation of 
Xisuthrus. 

7. The preceding observations may perhaps throw some light on a re- 
markable antediluvian character; respecting whom, as mentioned in the 
traditions of the pagans, there has been some difference of opinion. This 
personage is called, with a slight variation, Amiacus, Cannacus, or Nan- 
nacus. 

According to Zenobius, who relates his history fi-om Hermogenes, Can- 
naces was a king of the Phrygians before the time of Deucalion ; who, fore- 
seeing the deluge, collected men together into the temples to offer up tearful 
supplications : whence arose the proverb, mentioned by Herod, of weeping 
like Cannaces.'' A similar narrative is given by Suidas. Nannacus, says 
h^jWas a person of great antiquity, prior to the time of Deucalion. He is 
said to have been a king, who, foreseeing the approaching deluge, collected 
every body together, and led them to a temple ; where he offered up prayers 
for them, accompanied with many tears. There is likewise a proverbial ex- 
pression about Aannacus, which is applied to people of great antiquity.^ 
The same legend is related by Stephanus Byzantinus, though with some 
additional circumstances. They say, that there was formerly a king named 

• Syncell. Chronog. p. 30. Euscb. Chron. p. 8. * Zenob. in epit. proverb. 

Suid. Lex, vox Navraxc;. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 47 

Annacus, the extent of zvhose life was above three hundi'ed years. The "^^^: "* 
people, who were of his neighbourhood and acquainta?ice, had inquired of an 
oracle how long he was to live. The answer was, that, whtn Jtmacus died, 
all mankind would be destroyed. The Phrygians on this account made great 
lamentations : whence arose the proverb of weeping for Annacus, used 
for persons or circumstances highly calamitous. When the Jiood of 
Deucalion came, all mankind was destroyed, as the oracle had foretold. 
Aftencards, when the surface of the earth began to be again dry, Zeus 
ordered Prometheus and Minerva to make images of clay in the form of 
men : and, when they were finished, he called the winds, and made them 
breathe into each and I'ender them vital. ' 

Concerning this ancient cliai'acter there has been, as I have already inti- 
mated, a difference of opinion. Mr. Baxter, fi-om the circumstances of his 
being placed before the flood, his being distinguished from Deucalion, and 
his being called Cannaces or Canac, argues, that he must be the Enoch or 
Ghanoch of Scripture : Mr. Bryant, on the contrary, supposes him to be 
the patriarch Noah in his antediluvian state.* I am inclined to think, that 
the latter opinion is the most nearly allied to truth, though I doubt -whether 
the former ought to be Avholly rejected. According to the doctrine of the 
Metempsychosis, Cannaces probably unites in his own person tlie two cha- 
racters of Enoch and Noah ; while a part of his history contains a yet ulte- 
rior reference to the first Menu or Adam. The formation of men from clay, 
and the breathing into them the breath of life, refer us to the commencement 
of the antediluvian world, though placed, agreeably to the doctrine of a 
succession of similar systems, at the opening of the postdiluvian world : the 
name of Canac, his apparent distinction from Deucalion, and the general 
impression which he leaves on the mind, seem not unnaturally to point him 
out as the scriptural Enoch or Chanoch : but his character, Avhen closely ex- 
amined, leads us almost inevitably to conclude, that he is more nearly allied 
to Noah than either to Enoch or Adam. He is represented, as being a 
preacher of righteousness to the very time of the flood. This description 
exactly agrees with the character of Noah, but not with that of Enoch who 

" Stcph. Byzaiit. de Urb. vox Ixokov. 

* Archceolog. vol, i. p. 207. Bryant's Anal. vol. ii. p. 204. 



IMOK III. 



4S THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATKV. 

was translated near five centuries before tlie dissolution of the old world. 
The deluge is said to have commenced exactly when he died. This does not 
at all answer to the character of Enoch, but it perfectly accords with that of 
Noah: for, in the language of the mysteries, he died when he entered into 
the Ark, which was considered as his coffin; and he revived, or was born 
again into a new state of existence, when he quitted it. The proverb, in 
either of its forms, relates to mourning on account of a calamity. As Mr. 
Bryant rightly observes, it has nothing to do with the antiquity of Cannaces, 
which is the erroneous supposition of Suidas : but it relates altogether to 
certain memorable calamities, as Stephanus more properly teaches us. The 
first of the forms, he xveeps or suffers as much as Cannaces did, seems to 
have been used proverbially in the case of a person who had undergone great 
afflictions : ' and the second, his lamentations are as bitter as the hmienta- 
tions for Annacus, though somewhat differently modified, was similarly 
applied to one who laboured under excessive grief.' Now this weeping for 
Cannaces tallies minutely with the doleful Orgies of the Phenician Adonis, 
the Egyptian Osiris, the Phrygian Attis, and the Celtic Ilu. When the 
great father was commemoratively inclosed by the priests within his ark, and 
was supposed to be dead or to have descended into Hades or to have vanished 
from the sight of mortals, they bewailed his calamities with loud lamenta- 
tions : no sufFerincfs were like his : no tears were so bitter as theirs. But, 
when he was taken out of the ark, and was deemed to have been restored to 
life or to have returned from Hades or to have once more manifested himself, 
all which he allegorically did at the commencement of the new world ; then 
the scene was changed, and the deepest woe was succeeded by the most 
frantic joy.' As for the distinction between Annacus and Deucalion, it 

' Ta Kavvaicsu y.AaiEix. 

* To £iri kwoLMu kKouuv. 

3 Noah, though preserved, was yet deemed a man of eminent sorrows. / "sill adore, says 
Talicsin in his poem of The spoils of the deep, I xcill adore the sovereign, the supreme ruler 
of the land. If he extended his dominion over the shores of the world, yet in good order icas 
the prison of Gwair in the iiiclosure of Sidi : no one before him entered into it. The heavy 
blue chain didst thou, just man, endure: and for the spoils of the deep woeful is thy song ; 
and till the doom shall it remain in the Bardic prayer. Thrice the number that would have 



THE OHIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 49 

seems merely to relate to the two different lives of the patriarch before and '^'*'^^' "" 
after the deluge : whence he was considered, as being of a double nature, 
and as looking backward and forward into two successive worlds. This divi- 
sion of one man into two persons is vei-y common in pagan mythology: and 
the separation of Cannaces from Deucalion is nothing more than the similar 
separation of Horus from Osiris ; each of whom, though exhibited in the 
relationship of son and father, are equally Noah viewed under two difl'erent 
aspects. 

VIII. Cannaces is said to have surpassed the age of three hundred years. 
This agrees better with the duration of Enoch's life who was translated when 
three hundred and sixty five years old, than with that of Noah who had 
completed six centuries at the time of the flood. The legend however serves 
to shew, in conjunction with other similar legends, that the longevity of the 
early patriarchs was well known throughout the gentile world. 

Such is the purport of Hesiod's assertion, that, in the silver age, which 
immediately succeeded the age of Paradisiacal innocence and immortality, 
men, at the end of a century from their birth, were still but infants. To 
this passage Josephus seems to allude, when mentioning the general testi- 
mony, which the ancients, in perfect accordance with the Pentateuch, bore 
to the longevity of the first race. After stating the long lives of the antedi- 
luvians on the authority of Moses, he observes. All those persons, whether 
Greeks or Barbarians, zvho have zvritten en the sulject of antiquity, agree 
with me in this point. For Manetho who composed an account of the Egyp- 

Jilled Fryduen, reentered into the deep ; excepting seven, none have returned from Caer Sidi. 
Davics's Mythol. of Brit. Druids, p. 515. The prison of Gwair or the inclosure of Sidi, 
the Sida of the Hindoos, the Saida of the Canaanites, the Said of the Egyptians, the Sito 
or Ceres of the Sicilians, in other words the great mother represented by the circular inclosure 
of Stonehenge that Druidical copy of the circle of Ila ; the inclosure of Sidi is the Ark : 
Gwair or llu or the just man is Noah, the Sadik of Moses and Sanchoniatho : the doleful 
song on account of suffered calamity answers to the lamentations for Cannaces or Adonis or 
Osiris: and the seven, who alone return with him in safety from the deep where all the rest 
of mankind had perished, are his family, the same as the seven Cabiri or seven Titans or 
seven Rishis of Hindostan, who at the end of each world are preserved with a Menu in » 
capacious ark during the prevalence of an universal deluge. 

. Pag. Idol. VOL. II, ' G 



BOOK III, 



^0 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRr, 

tians, and Berosus who compiled a narrative of the affairs of Chaldea, 
and Mochus, and Hestieus, and Jerome the Egyptian, xclio zvere the authors 
of different histories of Phenicia; all these bear testimony to my veracity. 
Hesiod likezvise, and Hecaieus, and Hellayiicus, and Jcusilaus, and Epho- 
rus, and Nicolaus, relate, that the ancients lived a thousand years. ^ 

Of this general tradition Varro, as we learn from Lactantius, was not igno- 
rant : but he attempted to account for the supposed longevity of the primitive 
race of mortals, by conjecturing, that the thousand years, to which they 
attained, were only a thousand months or lunar revolutions. Such a solution 
however, as it is well argued by Lactantius, is wholly inadmissible : for, 
according to the conjecture of Varro, those, who then reached the greatest 
age will fall considerably short of what many have done even in our own days. 
Every person, who lives a century, lives full twelve hundred of those lunar 
years to which Varro would reduce the years of the first period ; and con- 
sequently exceeds the age of the first men, so celebrated for their longevity, 
by upwards of two hundred of such years. But many moderns have lived 
more than a century ; and therefore have still more exceeded that age of the 
primitive mortals, which tradition uniformly asserts to have been so great.* 
Nor is this all : if the computation be made by such years as Varro proposes, 
it will not be easy to point out the particular period, when that mode of reck- 
oning is to cease. The ages of the patriarchs are regularly specified in 
Holy Writ even beyond the days of Jacob ; and, if lunar revolutions be still 
used, the absurdity will be evident : for, in that case, the old age of Abra- 
ham, when his son was born by a peculiar interposition of heaven, will 
amount to something more than eight solar years. 

According to Couplet, the Chinese have precisely the same idea of the 
longevity of the antediluvians. Some of these they suppose to have attained 
the age even of eight or ten thousand years; an age far surpassing that, 
which Scripture assigns to them. This however must either be an exagge- 
ration of national vanity, in order that their records may extend to an incre- 
dibly remote period ; or the true ages of the antediluvians must have been 
decupled, by way of making them more extraordinary; or else the years in 

' Joseph. Ant. Jud. lib. i. c. 3. * Lactant. Instit. lib, ii. c. 12. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATEY. 51 

question must really have been, what Varro supposed the thousand years to '^"*''- "■ 
be, lunar revolutions: according to either of which last suppositions, the 
Mosaical and Chinese accounts will coincide with a sufficient degree of accu- 
racy to shew whence such a tradition originated. It is a curious circum- 
stance, that the Emperor Hoang-Ti, who, by the chronology of China, 
must have been contemporary with the patriarch Reu when the life of man 
was shortened to about three hundred years, proposed an inquiry, in a medi- 
cal book of which he was the author, frfience it happened, that the lives of 
their forefathers xverc so long compared with the lives of the then present 

generation ?' 

In fact, the rapid abbreviation of the ancient term of mortal existence, 
which began to take place immediately after the flood, could not but have 
greatly alarmed the early postdiluvians, and have filled their minds with 
many anxious conjectures and melancholy forebodings. Hence a singularly 
accurate recollection of the precise time, when this abbreviation commenced, 
was preserved by the Gentiles : it was supposed, that the life of man began 
to be shortened from the days of lapetus.^ Exactly agreeable to this opi- 
nion is the scriptural narrative. Immediately after the deluge, and conse- 
quently at the precise era when Japhet and his children flourished, the lon- 
gevity of the human race was first curtailed : and it henceforth experienced 
a gradual diminution, until the present age of man became the average 

standard. 

From the same source plainly originates the doctrine of the Burmas, that 
in the course of every mundane revolution the life of the human species 
becomes shorter and shorter; and that afterwards it is gradually extended 
until it again reaches its first duration, when the same abridgment once more 
commences. The first man, they say, attained an almost inconceivable age ; 
but his children and grandchildren had successively shorter lives as they be- 
came less virtuous; and this decrease continued, until men came to live 

• Couplet Prafat. ad Sin. Chronol. p. 5. 

* Horat. Carm. lib. i. od. 3. The language of Horace is so reir.arkablo. that h>s vofd- 
deser\e to be transcribed. 

Semotiquc prius tarda nccessitas 
Letbi corripuit gradura. 



BOOK III. 



■52 THE ORIGIN- OF PAGAV IDOLATRT. 

only ten years, the span of mortal existence during the period of the greatest 
wickedness. The progeny of these, considering the cause of such an awful 
abbreviation, dedicated themselves more to the practice of virtue, and be- 
came worthy of living twenty years. Afterwards their posterity, increasing 
in the performance of good works, had their lives protracted, until at length 
they again reached the age of the first man. Then commenced another 
diminution, which was followed by another prolongation: and this alternate 
decrease and increase must take place sixty four times after the reproduction 
of a world, before that world will be again destroyed. ' 

A somewhat similar idea prevails among the Buddhists of Ceylon. Dur- 
ing the continuance of the present mundane system, which is the faitlifully 
reflected image of every former system, there will be a successive diminution 
in the lives of men, until they are reduced so low as not to continue beyond 
five years ; and, when they are at the shortest, every one will commit un- 
heard of crimes. A terrible rain will then sweep from off the face of the 
earth all except a small number of good people, who will receive timely 
notice of the evil and thus avoid it. All the wicked, after being drowned, 
will be changed into beasts : until at length Buddha, or the great father, 
will appear and establish a new order of things. * Little need be said re- 
specting tliis fable : it is palpably built on the theory of a succession of similar 
worlds ; and, because the life of man began to be shortened from the com- 
mencement of the present postdiluvian world, while i\\e former world termi- 
nated with an universal flood, a parallel abbreviation and a parallel end by 
water is made to characterize every fictitious mundane system. 

IX. The number of generations from Adam to Noah is represented in 
Scripture as being ten, each of those patriarchs being included in the series; 
so that Noah stands in the ninth place of descent from Adam. This num- 
ber was well known to the Gentiles : and it was from their traditional ac- 
quaintance with it added to the established doctrine of a succession of simi- 
lar worlds, that Abraham, as we have already seen, was esteemed a mani- 
festation of Cronus or Menu. 

The Hindoos celebrate ten antediluvian children of Brahma, and describe 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 181, 182. * Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 415. 



THE ORIGTV or PAGAN IDOLATRY. 53 

them as being succeeded by the seven Rishis. These last I take to be really *^"*''' "* 
the same as the seven Menus, exhibited anew under a different modification. 
The seven Menus are said to be sprung from the ten Brahmadicas or children 
of Brahma ; while the seven Rishis are pronounced to be the immediate 
offspring of Brahma himself. Now the seven Rishis, with an eighth person 
the head of their family, escape in a boat from the general destruction pro- 
duced by an universal deluge. The seven Rishis therefore with their leader 
Menu are plainly the eight arkite mariners. But the seven Menus are seven 
supposed manifestations of the great father, from the epoch of the creation 
to that of the deluge. Hence in this respect they are 7wt the same as the 
seven Rishis. Yet their mutual connection appears from the identity of the 
numbers : and it is so perfectly arbitrary to say, that there were seven Menus 
between the creation and the deluge, while Noah had really seven companions 
in the Ark, that the Menus must have been pronounced to be seven because 
the Rishis were seven. Thus far therefore they agree. And now, when we 
call to mind the prevailing belief in transmigration and reappearance, it will 
not be unreasonable to conjecture with Mr. Wilford, that, whatever distinc- 
tion may have been made between them, the seven Menus and the seven 
Rishis are ultimately the same seven individual persons. The conjecture is 
rendered the more probable by our finding, that the Brahmadicas are pro- 
nounced sometimes to be ten, and sometimes only seven, in number; and 
that Atri, who must evidently be identified with Edris or Idris, is described 
as being at once a Brahmadica and a Rishi. From this last circumstance we 
must necessarily conclude, that, when the Brahmadicas are represented as 
ten, they shadow out the ten antediluvian generations; and that, when tliey 
appear as only seven, they coalesce with the seven Rishis and seven JNIenus. 
Much the same variation may be observed in the number of the Cabiric 
gods : sometimes, by the name of the Idei Dactyli, they are said to have 
been ten ; sometimes they are described as seven ; and sometimes, when the 
head of their family is joined to them, they are spoken of as eight. The 
confusion originated almost necessarily fi'om the causes which have been 
just specified. Every dynasty ends with a total destruction ef the human 
race, except the Menu or ruler of the next period, who makes his escape in 
a boat with the seven Rishis. The same events take place : the same per- 



BOOK III. 



54 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

sons, though sometimes under different names, reappear. It being thus 
known that there v ere ten generations before the flood, and it being argued 
that wlien ten more had elapsed after the flood the world would be again 
destroyed; Abraham, appearing in the ninth postdiluvian place of descent 
from Shem as Noah had appeared in the ninth antediluvian place of descent 
from Adam, and also flourishing when the cities of the plain were over- 
whelmed by a mixed deluge of fire and water, was thence pronounced to be 
the expected manifestation of a new Cronus or Menu or Ilus. ' 

The Hindoos, having assigned seven Menus to the period before the flood, 
and strongly maintaining the mutual similarity of all the successive worlds, 
were in consequence led to place seven Menus after the flood : and thus 
they produced a series of fourteen Menus. There is great reason to believe, 
that the fourteen periods of this double series are the very same as the reigns 
of the fourteen Mahabads of Iran ; for Mahabad is clearly no other than 
Menu or Buddha : and they are likewise closely coimected with the seven 
fabled mundane successions of that nation. In this last case, when the bird 
Simorgh tells Caherman, that she had lived to see the earth seven times 
filled with creatures and seven times a perfect void, we have only the simple 
number seven instead of the reduplicate numhev fourteen. 

It may be observed, that, as the ten antediluvian children of Brahma are 
sometimes reduced to seven which is the number of the arkite Rishis ; so at 
other times they are said to have been nine, which is still the same as ten 
when their parent Brahma or Menu-Swayambhuva is included ; while at 
other times again they are declared to have been no more than three, who 
are then pronounced to have been the sons of Adima. These are all varia- 
tions, or rather subdivisions, of the original number ten, so contrived as to 
exhibit the equally important numbers of seven and three : and the close 
connection of the seven Brahmadicas, the seven Menus, and the seven 
Rishis, for which I have contended with Mr. Wilford, suflSciently appears 
from the curious manner in which the Hindoos blend them together. The 

' From Adam to Noah inclusive, were ten generations: and these were succeeded by ten 
other gcnemtions, from Shem to Abraham also inclusive. Abraham therefore was the tenth 
person of the second decad, as Noah was the tenth person of the first: but Abraham was 
the ninth in descent from Shem, as Noah was the ninth in descent from Adam. 



THE ORIGIK OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 55 

seven great ancestors of mankind were first Brahmadicas, created for the 
purpose of replenishing the earth with inhabitants ; when they had fulfilled 
their mission, they became Menus or mundane sovereigns : and in their old 
age, when they withdrew to solitary places to prepare for death, they became 
Rishis or holy penitents. 

There is yet another modification of tlie fable, in which we may still trace 
the same studied attention to the numbers ten, seven, and three. Swayamb- 
huva, or Brahma incarnate in Adima, is said to have divided tlie world 
among seven of his ten sons, while three embraced the eremitical life. An 
exactly similar story is told of Priyavrata, the grandson of Adima ; whence 
it is evident, that one character is represented by each of them. This se- 
cond sto-y terminates with an ogdoad of sons, in whose time the earth was 
again divided. To what era the last division is to be ascribed, may be col- 
lected from the character of Ila the reputed sister of these eight persons ; 
who is sometimes thought to be the daughter of Bharata, and is sometimes 
described as the child of Satyavrata who was saved in an ark at the time of 
the deluge. Such modifications teach us how we are to understand the va- 
rj-ing legends, which now assign to Brahma ten sons, now nine, now seven, 
and now three : they retain the number ten, but subdivide it so as to produce 
the other sacred numbers. 

The Hindoos however do not always describe the ten antediluvian genera- 
tions in this compound and perplexed manner : when they quit the regions of 
mysticism and condescend to literal matter of fact, they then draw out ten 
successive descents precisely in the manner of Scripture, beginning with 
Adim and Iva, and terminating with a pious prince named Prithu, who is 
plainly the same as Noah or INIenu-Satyavrata. When Prithu was born, both 
gods and men came to make obeisance to him and to celebrate his appear- 
ance upon earth. He was a highly religious character, and addicted himself 
to agricultural pursuits. He was thought to have espoused a form of Lacshmi 
or the great mother : and it was during his days, that his mystical consort, 
in the shape of a cow, ascended to the summit of the Paradisiaco-diluvian 
Meru or Ararat. Little need be said in explanation of this legend. The 
cow was the universal symbol of the great mother, who united in herself tlie 
two characters of the Earth and the Ark. She was tlie same as the ship 



BOOK III 



56 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

' Argha or Aigo ; and by the Syrians she was denominated Theba, which 
properly signifies an ark. The cow therefore of Prithu the husbandman, 
the ninth in descent from Athm, when stationed on the top of Meru, is the 
Ark of Noah, mystically united with the Earth, when resting on the summit 
of Ararat.' 

I am inclined to believe, that the precise number of the Hindoo Avatars 
of Vishnou has been determined to be ten in reference to the same ten ante- 
diluvian generations. They doubtless indeed commence with the deluge, 
and the last is believed to be yet future : but, when we recollect how strong- 
ly the doctrine of a succession of similar worlds is maintained by the Brah- 
menical philosophers, Ave shall not find in this circumstance any argument to 
disprove such an opinion. The tenth Avatar, in fact, is a complete diluvian 
symbol. Vishnou, arrayed with the attributes of the destroying regenera- 
tor Siva, appears, as an armed warrior, to sweep away the incorrigible 
inhabitants of the earth. The white horse, which accompanies him, 
is one of the most common hieroglyphics of the great father, as the 
mare is of the great mother ; for this mode of representation has prevailed 
from Japan in the east to Britain in the west.* And, though the mundane 
dissolution, which he is to accomplish, is ostensibly future; it must no less, 
according to a favourite dogma of the Hindoos, be considered as long since 
past : for they believe, as I have had occasion so frequently to observe, that 
every world is succeeded, as it has been preceded, by a perfectly similar 
world ; that the great father is manifested as a destroyer at the close, and 
as a regenerator at the commencement, of each system ; and that world af- 
ter world, in endless series, is overwhelmed by a deluge, from which a Me- 
nu with seven Rishis is preserved in an ark. 

A recollection of the ten antediluvian generations was equally preserved 
among the ancient Atlantians. Plato informs us, that a marine hero-god, to 
whom he gives the Greek appellation of Posidofi or Neptune, divided the 

' Asiat. Res. vol. v, p. 244—255. vol. ii. p. 346. vol. viii. p. 286, 334, 335. Instit. of 
Menu. chap. i. p. 5. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 236. Maurice's Hist, of Hirtd. vol. ii. p. 403. Ksempfer's Japan, 
p. 247. Davies's Mythol, of Brit. Druids, p. 257, 258. Sec my Dissert, on tlje Cabiri, 
ciiap. vii. 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 57 

island Atlantis among his ten sons; just as Brahma or Adima similarly di- «hap.ii. 
vided the earth among his children. The first inhabitants of that island 
were remarkable for their piety : but, afterwards degenerating and becoming 
guilty of all sorts of violence and impurity, they were overwhelmed, toge- 
ther with their country, by the waves of the ocean. Atlantis then, like the 
earth which Adima divided among his offspring, must have been the antedilu- 
vian world : and, if so, the ten sons of Neptune, who inhabited it previous 
to its submersion, must be viewed as shadowing out the ten antediluvian ge- 
nerations. The opinion is confirmed, both by the gradual deterioration of 
manners ascribed to its inhabitants, and by an old tradition preserved by 
Cosmas Indico-Pleustes, that it was formerly tenanted by Noah, and that, 
when it sank, he sailed in an ark to the continent.' 

A very distinct remembrance of the same ten antediluvian generations 
prevailed also among the ancient Chaldeans : for Berosus, Abydenus, and 
Alexander Polyhistor, ail agree in reckoning ten inclusive descents from the 
first man Alorus to the pious Xisuthrus, who was saved with his family in 
an ark when the earth was inundated by the waters of an universal flood.* 

' See my Dissert, on the Cab. toI. ii. p. 283 — 288. I shall have occasion hereafter to dis- 
cuss the fible of the island Atlantis more at large. Vide infra book iii. c. 6.§. 1. 1. 
*Syncell. Cbronog. p. 30, 38, 39. 



Pag. Idol VOL. 11. G 



CHAPTER III. 



On the antediluvian and diluvian history as exhibited in the 

Zend-Avesta. 



But perhaps the most generally consistent detail of antediluvian history, 
terminating with the catastrophe of the flood and the manifestation of the 
second great father of mankind, has been preserved in the Zend-Avesta of 
the ancient Persians. 

I. I have already had occasion to notice their dividing the period of the 
creation into six different intervals, analogous to the Mosaical division of it 
into six days : and I then intimated my intention of offering some additional 
observations on tliis curious legend, when a suitable opportunity should oc- 
cur.' I now proceed to fulfil my engagement. 

Where the cosmogony of the Persians terminates, their narrative of an- 
tediluvian transactions is properly made to commence. In the sixth and 
last interval, as we have seen, man alone was created : but he is supposed to 
have been mysteriously divided into two characters, distinguished from each 
other as the. man and the man-bull. These were the first of beings, and 
did not spring from the union of male and female, but were formed imme- 
diately by the hand of God. The man was called Kaiomorts or Key- 

' Vide supra book I. chapi 5. § V. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 59 

ITmursh-' and the bull, Abondad or A b- Bond-Tat.'' The man lived, and chap. m. 
spoke : the bull died, and did not speak. That man was the beginnini» of 
all generations. But the man and the bull were compounded together, con- 
stituting jointly one being ; so that the man was the pure and holy soul of 
the man bull. For some time after the creation of this intelligent being, 
there was a season of great happiness : and the man-bull resided in an ele- 
vated region, which the Deity had assigned to him. At last an evil one, de- 
nominated /Ihriman, con'upted the world. After having dared to visit hea- 
ven, he descended to the earth, assumed the form of a serpent, and intro- 
duced a number of wicked demons called Karf esters. The man-bull was 
poisoned by his venom, and died in consequence of it. It was said, that 
the Dews of I\Iaz ndran fought against the fixed stars, and that Ahriman, 
independently of his machinations against Kaiomorts, had formed the de- 
sign of destroying the whole world. But the celestial Izeds, during twenty 
four days and as many nights, fought against Ahriman and all the Dews ; un- 
til at length they defeated and precipitated them into Douzakh. From the 
middle of Douzakh, Ahriman went upon the earth. There he threw the 
whole world into confusion. For that enemy of good mingled himself with 
every thing, appeared every where, and sought to do mischief both above 
and below. 

The man-bull was now dead, but out of his left arm proceeded a being 
named Goschoronn. He is said to have raised a cry louder than the shout 
of a thousand men. Approaching Ormuzd the Creator, he thus addressed 
hini. JVhat chief have you established in the zvorld? Ahriman is employed 
in 7-apidly destroying the earth, in hurting the trees, and in drying up their 

juices by the agency of scalding xvater. fVhere is the man, of whom you 
have spoken ? Let him now prepare to engage himself to make good the evil 
that has been done. Ormuzd replied to him. The bull, O Goschoronn, has 

jallen sick of the malady, with zvhich Ahriman has injected him. But that 
man is reserved for an earth, for a time, when Ahriman will not be able to 
exercise his violence. Goschoroun was now full of joy: he consented to 

' M. Anquctil writes the word ,Kaio>norts : but the appellation is a compound one. 
* This name is also a compound. 



60 THE ORIGIN 01' PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK III. tj^at^ which Ormuzd demanded of him : and he said, / xvill take care of all 
the creatures hi the world. 

After this it was resolved to put Ahriman to flight, and to destroy all 
those wicked persons whom he had introduced upon the earth ; tor there was 
now an universal opposition to the supreme God Ormuzd. At this time a se- 
cond man-bull appeared, who bore the name of Taschter. He is spoken of, 
both as a star, and as the sun : yet he is also mentioned, as a person w ho ex- 
isted upon earth under three forms. To Taschter was couiuntted the charge 
of bringing on the deluge. 

Meanwhile Ahriman went on in his rebellion, and was joined by the 
wicked race of the Darvands. The chief of thern accosted the evil spirit 
in the following words. O Ahriman, raise yourself up with me. I go to 
Jight and bind Oimuzd and the Anischaspands. Then he, the origin of evil, 
twice counted the Dews separately, and was not content. Ahriman wished 
to quit that abject state, to which the sight of the pure man had reduced 
him. The Darvand Dje said to him. Raise yoursclj with me to enter into 
this war. What evils will I bring upon the pure man and upon the bull ! 
After they have suffered what I shall inflict upon them, they xvill no longer 
he able to live, I xvill corrupt their light : I will be in the water : I will be 
in the trees: I will be in thejire of Ormuzd: I will be in every thing that 
Ormuzd has made. He, wliose every action is evil, then proceeded twice 
to review his troops. But the daring rebellion was speedily crushed ; Ahri- 
man was put to flight ; and the victory remained with Ormuzd. 

On this it was thought necessary to bring over the face of the earth an 
universal deluge of w aters, that all impurity might be washed away : and, 
as the second man-bull Taschter was the person appointed to effect this great 
work, he forthwith set about it. Taschter was seconded by Bahman, by 
Hom-Ized, and by Beni-Barzo-Ized. The pure souls watched with care 
over his safety. • On this occasion, he had, as it were, three bodies ; the 
body of a man, the body of a horse, and the body of a bull. His light 
shone on high during thirty days and thirty nights, and he caused rain to 
descend under each body for the space of ten days. Every drop of that 
rain was like a large salver. The earth was wholly covered with water to 
the height of a man : and, the streams penetrating to its very inmost re- 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 6l 

cesses, all the Kharfesters perished in the mighty inundation. So prodigious ^^*^" "'' 
was the quantity of rain: and it fell in droj)s, each of which equalled in bulk 
the head of an ox. 

At length the waters began to retire, and were again confined within their 
proper bounds : for a violent wind, during three days, agitated them on all 
sides upon the earth. IVIeanw hile God the creator drove back all the waters 
from the Arg-Roud.' Then he caused mount Albordi to appear, and after- 
wards the other mountains. All these mountains multiplied themselves from 
the root of Albordi, as suckers are propagated from a tree : and at last the 
surface of the whole earth became visible. The particular region, in which 
Albordi was situated, bore tlie name of Ferakh-kand: and there Ormuzd 
planted the germs of all the Kharfesters, who remained, and from whom all 
things were destmed to spring. Here another bull was framed, which was 
the author of all abundance. We are likewise told, that two animals of this 
species were produced, a male and a female : and from them the Universe 
was derived. The mode of their production is not a little remarkable. The 
seed of the first-mentioned bull was purified in the moon : it was then formed 
into a living body : and out of that body sprang a bull and a cow. From 
them all kinds of animals, and birds, and fishes, originated.* 

II. With respect to the genuineness of the Zend-Avesta, whence the pre- 
ceding citation is taken, it is not to be dissembled, that various opinions have 
been entertained. Mr. Bryant is disposed to admit it, as an authentic relic of 
antiquity :' Dr. Prideaux strongly maintains it to be a mere garbled compila- 
tion from the Hebrew Scriptures, the work of Zeradusht, who flourished in 
the time of Darius Hystaspis and who had been a servant of the prophet 
Daniel:* Sir William Jones, on the authority of Mohsan the author of 
the Dabistan, seems to think, that the present Zend-Avesta is a compdation 

* M. Perron's French is dans V Arg-Roud ; but the sense seems to me -to require, that the 
original bhould have been translated /rom, not tn. 

* Zend-Avesta, vol. iii. p. 348—371. vol. i. p. 353, 351, 354, 334, 352, 356, 359. apud 
Bryant. 

' Anal. vol. iii. p. 599, 600. 

* Prideaux's Connect, part i. b. iv. p. 219 ct infra. 



62 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

kooK 111. fpQjjj tjjg Y,ork of Zeradusht which itself is no longer in existence :' and Mr. 
Richardson broadly asserts, that it carries palpable marks of the total or 
partial fabrication of modern times.'' Of these opinions, it is obvious, that 
those of Bryant and Richardson form the two extremes. 

Equally various have been the sentiments concerning its reputed author. 
Prideaux and Hyde allow the existence of only one Zeradusht, called by 
the Greeks Zoroaster: Bryant maintains, that the name Zoroaster and the 
name Zeradusht are wholly different : and Richardson tells us, that the two 
characters have so little resemblance to each other, that, unless Dr. Hyde aiid 
other oriefitalists had resolved at all events to reco7icile the identity of their 
persons, we should have much difficulty to discover a single similar feature. 
Amidst these discordant views of the subject, it requires some caution to de- 
termine, what degree of credit is due to the mythological history of the 
Zend-Avesta. 

So far as I can judge, the moderate opinion of Sir William Jones bids 
the fairest to be the truth. Internal evidence, to which alone we must ulti- 
mately resort, appears to me equally to set aside those of Prideaux and 
Richardson : for, though the outline of the Zend-Avestaic story corresponds 
with the Mosaical narrative, the mode of telling it is altogether pagan and 
does not bear the least resemblance to the plain detail of the Jewish law- 
giver ; and it is so replete with those remarkable mythologic and symbolical 
notions, which are common to the whole gentile world, that its groundzvork 
cannot possibly be a mere modern invention, if such be the idea which Mr. 
Richardson wishes us to ascribe to his term fabrication. This last is Mr. 
Bryant's argument to prove the genuine antiquity of the present Zend-Avesta: 
and it avails, I think, to prove that the groundzvork of it must be authentic; 
but it is insufficient to prove, especially against those able orientalists 
who are best qualified to decide the point, the absolute authenticity of the 
composition itself. The Zend-Avesta may be a compilation of modern 
times, though hozv far modern I will not pretend to determine : yet the ma- 
terials, which it contains, may nevertheless be most curious and valuable 

' Discourse on the Persians. Asiat, Res. vol, ii. p. 51. 

* Richardson's Dissert, sect, ii. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 63 

fragments of real antiquity. Thus the writings of Tzetzes and the other 
Greek scholiasts are comparatively modern : yet they contain some of the 
most precious rehcs, which we have, of old pagan mythology. No one ever 
suspects, that they invented the fables which they relate, though many of 
them now occur no where else : I see not therefore, why we should imagine, 
in plain contradiction to internal evidence, that the contents of the Zend- 
Avesta are a modero J'ab7'ication, by this term meaning invention. 

Sir William Jones, if I do not misunderstand him, ascribes the original 
Zend-Avesta to Zeradusht, whom he places a small matter earlier than Dr. 
Prideaux.' If it were the work of a person who was contemporary with 
Darius Hystaspis, I should suspect that neither was he the inventor of it, 
but that he had either copied from some yet older book (of which his pro- 
duction might be esteemed a then modernized edition), or that (like Ovid) 
he had collected together into one volume various scattered legends. The 
probability of this opinion will appear in the sequel: at present I shall con- 
sider the hypothesis of Dr. Prideaux, who roundly declares the Zend-Avesta 
to be a mere compilation from the Pentateuch made by a slave of Daniel in 
the time of Darius Hystaspis. 

]. This point I should conceive to be the most satisfactorily determined 
(at least so far as the preceding citations are concerned, in the fate of which 
alo7ie I am interested) by comparing them with the writings, whence they 
are supposed to have been taken. 

Now it appears to me, that, except the regular and systematic arrange- 
ment of the story and the dogma of the world having been created at six 
successive times, there is not only nothing which might not have been just 
as well borrowed from the general mythology of the old heathens as from the 
Pentateuch ; but nearly the whole narrative is couched in terms, which must 
have been taken from ancient symbolical mythology, and which in their pre- 
sent form could not have been taken from the Pentateuch. Zeraduslit had 
no occasion to resort to the book of Genesis, in order to learn either the 

' Dr. Prideaux, on the authority of Clemens Alexandrinus, represents Pythagoras as hav- 
ing been his pupil, whereas Sir William Jones thinks it barely possible that they could have 
conversed together. They agree however in fixing him to the age of Gushtasb or Darius 
Hystaspis. 



CHAP. III. 



64 THE OllIGlN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. history of the creation in its great outline, or the Paradisiacal happiness of 
the first man, or his fall in consequence of yielding to the temptation of 
an evil being who assumed the form of a serpent, or the universal wicked- 
ness of mankind before the flood : still less did he require to have received his 
information respecting the deluge from the Hebrew lawgiver. These matters 
were well known throughout tiie whole world both eastern and western, though 
perhaps in no other ancient system are they all successively detailed with so 
much regularity and method. But Zeradusht relates them in a manner, 
which he could not have learned from the Pentateuch, and which (supposing 
him to be entirely the author of the Zend-Avesta) he must have altogether 
learned from the old symbolical mythology. Thus Moses might have taught 
him, that Adam was the first man of the antediluvian world, and Noah the 
first man of the postdiluvian world: but the idea of representing the one as 
a sort of revival of the other and of considering the two as a first and se- 
cond man-bull, while it perfectly accords with the gentile notion of a succes- 
sion of similar worlds and with the gentile practice of typifying by a bull 
the transmigrating great father or Adam reappearing in the person of Noah ; 
such an idea could not have been borrowed from the book of Genesis. 
Thus also Moses might have told him, that the first woman was deceived 
by a serpent, that death was the consequence of yielding to the temptation, 
that a Saviour was obscurely promised who should bruise the head of the 
serpent, and that the flood was the punishment of antediluvian wickedness : 
but, though Me y«c/* detailed in the Zend-Avesta coincide sufficiently with 
those related in the Pentateuch to prove their identity ; yet the manner, in 
which they are detailed, is so peculiar, and differs so widely from the simple 
narrative of Moses, that it is hard to conceive how the one history could have 
been a mere transcript of the other. From various gentile legends it might have 
been learned, that certain evil beings had been cast out of heaven, that they were 
opposers of God, and that they were closely connected with the serpent : but Mo- 
ses does not positively tell us any thing of the kind. In the story of Goschoroun, 
and in the promise of some holy man who should hereafter appear, we may 
easily recognize a corrupted belief in a future Deliverer, from whatever source 
such a belief might originate : but in the Pentateuch there is nothing, that 
in detail bears the least resemblance to these legends. The notion, that 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 65 

the evil principle was in the waters and that the deluge proceeded from him, 
was prevalent both in Egypt and Hindostan and Greece ; and may be recog- 
nized in the fables of Typhon, Hayagriva, the Asoors, and the serpent Py- 
thon : but no such notion could have been drawn from the narrative of Moses. 
When Zeradusht tells us, that the second man-bull was assisted in the task of 
bringing on the flood by thiee other personages, he might indeed have learn- 
ed the existence of such characters from the Pentateuch ; but the mythology 
of perhaps every nation upon the face of the earth would have equally im- 
pressed him with the belief in a great diluvian triad, emanating from, and 
intimately blended with, a paternal monad. On the contrary, when he in- 
forms us, that this same man-bull triplicated himself into three bodies, that of 
a man, that of a horse, and tliat of a bull ; we find nothing like such an 
opinion in the book of Genesis : but we do find, that the great father was 
believed to have been mysteriously triplicated, as the ancient hierophanta 
delighted to express the simple fact of his having three sons ; we do find, that 
the bull and the horse were universally symbols of this primeval character, 
by whatever name he might be venerated. So again : the purification of the 
seed or offspring of the man-bull within the Moon precisely at the time of 
the flood, and the deducing the postdiluvian origin of all things from that 
planet, quite agree with the universal heathen practice of astronomically 
representing the Ark by the lunette : but, in whatever light the Moon might 
be considered by the early patriarchs, there are no traces of any such specu- 
lations in the plain historical narrative of Moses. Equally improbable is it, 
that the Zend-Avesta should have been a fabrication from the Pentateuch, 
if we consider its striking omissions, as we have hitherto done its palpable 
deviations. When the pretended servant of Daniel sat down to his labour 
of forgery with the writings of the Hebrew lawgiver before him, he would 
obviously embellish his detail with the history of Cain and Abel, and would 
not fail to notice the specious miracle of the translation of Enoch : at any 
rate, if these matters were passed over in silence, it is impossible to believe, 
that in a professed account of the deluge he would totally neglect to mention 
the Ark. Yet such is the case witli the legend before us : nothing is said of 
the murder of Abel ; nothing, of the rapture of Enoch ; nothing, literally 
and ostensibly, of the Ship within which the tauric patriarch and his family 
Pag. Idol. VOL. II. I 



cuAr. III. 



aooB III. 



66" THt ORIGIN or PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

were presen'ed. This last is indeed mentioned : but it is mentioned in a 
manner so purely mystical, that none but the initiated would understand 
what was meant. The Arg-Roud is plainly enough the ship Argha; and the 
Moon, which is described as the parent of the Universe at the exact lime of 
the deluge, will easily be recognized by the mythologist as the astronomical 
symbol of the Ark : but suck a mode of noticing the Siiip of the great father, 
if it prove ani/ thing, will much rather prove, that the author of the Zend- 
Avesta had not seen the Pentateuch, than that he had. In short, if this 
book be wholly the work of a Zeradusht who flourished in the time of Darius 
Hystaspis, and if that Zeradusht had conversed with Daniel (which is allow- 
ing the whole that Dr. Prideaux calls upon us to allow as necessary to his 
conclusion, and much more than we are any way bound to allow): even then 
it would appear to me, from the mere force of internal evidence, that little 
of the legend beyond its systematic arrangement could have been borrowed 
from the Pentateuch, and that the great mass of materials must have been 
derived from quite another source ; namely the old and generally received 
system of mythology, with which we must unavoidably conclude Zeradusht 
to have been well acquainted. 

Supposing then that the Zend-Avesta was the sole work of a sole Zera- 
dusht, as Dr. Prideaux contends, 1 should certainly conclude from internal 
evidence, that its author had taken the sacred traditional fables of his coun- 
try, and had wrought them up into a regular chronological form on the model 
aflbrded him by the Pentateuch : or, to explain my meaning by a somewhat 
parallel instance, if we admit that Ovid had perused the Greek translation 
of the Seventy (which I think more than probable), I should conceive that 
he composed the beginning of his Metamorphoses, much in the same man- 
ner as Zeradusht composed the Zend-Avesta. No one can properly say, 
that the narrative of the Latin poet is a mere garbled compilation from Scrip- 
ture, though to his acquaintance with the Greek translation it perhaps owes 
that chronological regularity and consistency, which we vainly look for in the 
writings of Hesiod : and I think we can, with as little shew of sreason and 
propriety, set aside unceremoniously and in the gross the whole Zend-Avesta 
of the Persian, even admitting his acquaintance with the exordium of Gene- 
sis. Any persrin, even the most moderately conversant with old mythology, 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 67 

cannnot but see, that, however Zeradusht may have systematized his work in "*'• '"• 
consequence of his intercourse with the Jews of the Babylonian captivity, its 
matCT-ials must have been boiTOwed from the ample fund of Paganism ; and 
no acquaintance with mythology is necessary to produce the conviction, that 
they catinot have been furnished by the primeval history of the Pentateuch. 

Such would be my conclusion, if it had been proved that the Zend-A Testa 
was the sole production of a sole Zeradusht, who was contemporary with 
Darius Hystaspis and who had conversed with the prophet Daniel: but this 
point does not appear to me to have been proved. There is reason to think, 
that the present Zend-Avesta is a comparatively modern compilation from the 
Zend-Avesta of a Zeradusht who probably flourished in the time of Darius 
Hystaspis : but I am strongly inclined to believe, that even this work was not 
an original one, nor its author the sole Zeradusht. I am strongly inclined 
to believe, that there was a yet prior and most remotely ancient Zend-Avesta ; 
that it was ascribed to a primitive Zeradusht, as the sacred books of the 
Brahmenists and Buddhists are to a primitive Menu or Buddha ; and that it 
was the ground-work of a later (the parent of the present) Zend-Avesta, 
corrected and edited by a later and totally different Zeradusht. 

To this opinion I lean from the mere force of internal evidence : I am 
disposed to adopt it even independently of Sir William Jones's citation from 
the Dabistan of Mohsan, which however remarkably confirms it. Mohsan 
informs us, that, according to the most intelligent of those Persians who 
professed the faith of Hushang, the first king both of Persia and of all the 
earth was Mahabad. This prince divided the people into four orders ; the 
sacerdotal, the military, the commercial, and the servile : and gave appella- 
tions to them, unquestionably the same in their origin with those, which are 
now applied to the four primary classes of Hindostan. He is said to have 
received from the Creator, and to have promulgated among men, a sacred 
book in a heavenly language : and it was believed, that fourteen Mahabads 
had appeared or would appear in human shapes for the government of the 
world. The w hole of this legend is so palpably Hindoo,- that the system of 
the ancient Persians must have been the very same as that, which, under 
certain modifications, is alike maintained both by Brahmenists and 
Buddhists. The sacred book of Mahabad is the code, which in one word 



68 THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOR III. jjjay be denominated the Veda : the fourteen I^f ahabads are the fourteen 
Menus: and Mahabad liimsclf, the first sovereign of Persia and of the earth, 
is tliat great father ; wiio is thought to appear and to reign at tbc cointncnce- 
ment of every mundane system, Mho is successively the xMenu-Swayambhuv.a 
and the Menu-Satyavrata of Hindostan, and who in plain language is Adam 
supposed to be manifested anew in the person of Noah. Sir William Jones 
remarks, that the word Mahabad is apparently Sanscrit. It seems indeed 
very evidently to be tlie compound appellation Maha-Bad or the gi'eat 
Buddha : and Buddha is in all respects the same mixed character as INIenu, 
and is plainly to be identified with him ; each is the great father successively 
manifested for the government of the Universe. According then to this 
account, there was an ancient sacred book received among the Persians 
anterior to the time of the later Zeradusht, which Sir William Jones does 
not hesitate to identify with the Institutes of Menu ; a book, that is the 
standard at this moment of all religious and moral duties among the Hindoos. 
The primeval theology of the Persians, if we may rely on the authorities 
adduced by Mohsan, was pure theism: but this simple mode of worship 
was of no long duration among them ; it speedily gave place to polytheism. 
The accession of Cayumers to the throne of Persia, in the eighth or ninth 
century before Christ, seems to have been accompanied by a considerable 
revolution both in government and religion : and he probably began the new 
system of national faith, which Hushang, whose name it bears, completed. ' 
But the reformation was partial : for, while the Persians rejected the com- 
plex polytheism of their predecessors, they retained the laws of the sacred 
book of Mahabad, and superstitiously venerated, the Sun, the Planets, and 
the element of Fire. At length, in the days of Zeradusht, the reformation 
of the old religion was completed ; and the system acquired that form, which 
it retained until the country was subdued by the Musulmans. Zeradusht pre- 
served some of the ancient superstitious usages, and introduced others of his 
own invention : but he was chiefly remarkable, as the author of a new work 
which he pretended to have received from heaven, and as having established 
the actual adoration of one Supreme Being. This Zeradusht, according to 

• See below book vi. Ct 2, f II. 2, and Append. Tab. v. 



THE ORIGIN or PAGAX IDOLATRY. 69 

Mohsan, flourished contemporaneously with Gushtasb or Darius Hystaspis; '^"^''- "' 
and he is said to have travelled into Hindostan for the purpose of receiving 
theological and ethical information from the Brahmens : consequently, he 
must be the person, who, with whatever reason, is supposed by Dr. Pri- 
deaux to have conversed with Daniel.' 

Now, if the preceding account of Mohsan may be depended upon, it 
seems to me decidedly to confirm the opinion which I have advanced: and 
I should conclude from it, when I view it in connection even with the present 
Zend-Avesta, that the immediate parent of that work, the pretended /lezv 
book of Zeradusht, was nothing more than a corrected edition of the origi- 
nal holy book of !Mahabad. In short, I should conclude, that ]\Iahabad 
himself was the primitive Zeradusht; that his name had been assumed 
by a later impostor, who, as a reformer and a legislative prophet, was es- 
teemed a manifestation of the great transmigrating father; tliat he was the 
same as the jNIenu, to whom the Hindoos ascribe i/ie Institutes ; and that 
his holy book, the remote groundwork of the present Zend-Avesta, was 
much the same as the most ancient Veda. 

Such a supposition will account satisfactorily for the strong resemblance 
between the preceding extracts from the Zend-Avesta, and the legends of 
the Hindoos relative to the same period. The evil principle Ahriman acts 
the very same part with respect to the deluge, that the demon Hayagriva 
does in one of the Hindoo traditions and the god Siva himself in another of 
them.* The Dews, his associates, are the Dewtahs of Brahmenical theo- 
logy. Mount Alboidi is the same as mount Mandar and mount Meru, 
though the story may possibly have been corrected and rendered more simple 
from tlie inspired account of Ararat : yet the notion of all the other hills 
being the offspring of Albordi nearly resembles the Hindoo idea, that every 
sacred mount, whether natural or artificial, is a smaller j\Ieru and a splin- 
ter of the original holy mountain. And the three forms of the second man- 
bull; the horse, the bull, and the man; appear conspicuously in the third 
of the Hindoo Avatars, which evidently relates to the great catastrophe of 
the deluge. ' Thus, the more I consider the early history contained in the 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 60. * Maurice's Hist, of Hind. vol. 1. p. 503. 

' See the print in Maur. Hist, of Hind. vol. 1. p. 581. 



70 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATKT. 

'"• Zend-Avesta, the more I incline to deduce it from old mythology, and the 
less I can brini«; myself to believe that it is a mere transcript from tlie writ- 
}n<^s of Moses first made in the time of the prophet Daniel.' 

2. The present supposition necessarily leads me to contradict Dr, Hyde 
and Dr. Prideaux in another particular ; I mean their belief in the existence 
of only one Zeradusht, whom they place in the reign of Gushtasb or Darius 
ITystaspis. 

As for the name itself, whether Mr. Bryant's opinion, thnt Zoroaster and 
Zeradusht are two entirely distinct appellations of one or more persons, be 
well or ill founded ; and whether his derivation of the word Zoroaster from 
tlie compound term Sor-Aster, which he interprets to denote the bull-star 
or the star of the bull, be right or wrong : his circumstantial evidence to 
prove the remote antiquity of a character, whom the Persians appear to 
have called Zei-adusht and whom the Greeks certainly denominated Zoroas- 
ter, is most valuable and decisive.' Such evidence, in my mind, far out- 

' Dr. PriJeau.x says, that Abraham, Moses, Joseph, and Solomon, are spoken of in the 
Zend-Avesta conformably with their scriptural history. This circumstance will only prove, 
that the knowledge of those characters had been derived from the Jews, and that so far the 
Zend-Avesta had been indebted to Scripture : but it will not prove, in direct opposition to the 
circumstantial evidence which has been adduced, that the early history contained in that book 
was similarly derived. Dr. Prideaux likewise imagines, that the Zoroastrian veneration of 
fire was borrowed from the appearance of God in the Shechinah betwe«n the Cherubim. 
This epinion might have been deemed plausible, had such veneration been confined to Persia: 
but the fact is, the veneration of the Sun, and thence of his emblem the sacred immortal fire, 
pervaded more or less the mythology of every nation. 

* Agathias certainly seems to warrant the opinion, that Zoroaster and Zeradusht are in 
themselves distinct appellations, although borne by one man. He says, Qirof Se i Zu}foar- 
Tfoy Tjtot ZajaJi);' iitTij ya.^ iv aunu nrwyujji,ia,. This Zoroaster is Zaradcs, fur he has two 
names. Agath. de Pers. lib. ii. p. 6"2. In this passage, Zarades is evidently an attempt to 
express in Greek characters the Persian word Zeradusht : and we are told, that the person 
.■poken of bore two names, Zarades (or Zeradusht ) and Zoroaster. Yet I greatly doubt, whe- 
ther such testimony will quite warrant Mr. Bryant's supposition. Agathias seems only to have 
meant that the person, whom the Greeks called Zoroaster, was in his own country denominat- 
ed Zarades or Zeradusht ; ami that the real name had been so transmuted, that Zoroaster and 
Zarades might well pass for two distinct titles. I am the more led to adopt this interpretation 
of the passage, both because we know how strangely the Greeks were wont to corrupt any 



THE ORIGIN OK PAGAX ILOLATRr. 7t 

weiffhs that of any comparatively modern Persian iiistorians, who seem to «"*'' "'• 
have preserved the recollection of only the later Zeradusht : and the more 
so, because, according to Mr. Richardson, no two histories can be more 
perfectly dissimilar, than the Persian history from about the year 600 before 
the Christian era to the Macedonian conquest as written by the Persians 
themselves, and the same history as written by the Greeks." In the former 
(so at least we are told), no mention is made of Cyrus ; nor does any prince 
occur, whose actions at all resemble his : ' there is not a syllable respecting 
the expedition of Cambyses against the Egyptians : nor can we discover a 
vestige of the battles of Marathon, Thermopylae, Salamis, Plat^a, or My- 
cal^ ; nor of the mighty force, wliich Xerxes led out of Asia to overwhelm 
the states of Greece. But the great outline of the latter is confirmed by 
Holy Scripture;' and both it and Scripture accord with the canon of Ptole- 

foreign term which offended the delicacy of their ears; and because I have been assured by« 
valued connection of ray own, who is allowed to be one of the first orientalists of the present 
day, that the Persians are wholly ignorant of any such appellation as Zoroaster. This, I 
grant, does not absolutely prove the non-e.\istence of such a name among their_/brf/aM«r* .- 
but it renders the matter at least so suspicious, that it is imprudent to assign any etymology 
to the word Zoroaster, which may be merely a Greek corruption of a very different name. 

' From the year before Christ 6\0, says Mr. Richardson, till the Macedonian conquest, ue 
have the history of the Persians as given vs by the Greeks, and the history of the Persians at 
written by themselves. Between those classes of writers, we might naturally expect some differ- 
ence of facts ; but ve should as naturally look for a few great lines, which might mark some 
similarity of story : yet, from every search which J have had an opportunity to make, there 
seems to be nearly as much resemblance between the annals of England and Japan, as between 
the European and Asiatic relations ff the same empire. 

* I speak with the mouth of Mr. Richanlson: but Sir William Jones not only pronounces, 
without fear of contradiction, that the Greek Cyrus is the Persian Cai-Khosrau ; but tells us, 
that the actions ascribed to this prince in the epic poem of Firdausi minutely correspond with 
the actions ascribed to Cyrus by Herodotus. In short, as he strongly expresses himself, when 
he doubts the identity of Jjouis Quatorze and Lewis the fourteenth, thtn, and not till then, 
■will he doubt the identity of Cyrus and Cai-Khosrau. Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 45. I, who am 
no orientalist, pretend not to decide between these two eminent scholars; Arcades ambo ! I 
can only say, that, if the Persian histories be what Mr. Richardson represents them to be, 
I do not believe one syllable of their contents. Dr. Hales has some good remarks on this sub- 
ject. See Chronol. vol. iii. p. 47. note *. 

' Exclusive of the direct mention of Cyrus or Choresh, and exclusive of the predictions 



71 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATaV. 

BOOK iif. nriy, which is founded on astronomical observations : so that, even putting 
the divine authority of the Hebrew writings out of the question and viewing 
them merely as historical records, we must surely allow, that two ancient 
testimonies, the one occidental, the other oriental, and both confirmed by the 
mathematical evidence deduced from the actual calculation of eclipses, far 
overbalance one comparatively modern testimony. When I call to mind the 
various revolutions which Persia has undergone, particularly that which in- 
troduced the religion of Mohammed, I can never be persuaded to place the 
least reliance on a history so strangely contradictory both to Scripture, to 
Ptolemy, and to the Greek historians.' But Mr. Bryant's evidence for tiie 

nnd history of his tailing Babylon which remarkably accord with the Greek writers, Daniel 
foretells the expedition of Xerxes into Greece, and assigns to him the very same place in the 
succession from Cyrus which profane authors do. See Dan.xi. 2. and Bp. Newton's Dissert, 
in loc. 

' According to Sir William Jones, who speaks with his usual good sense on the subject, 
the present Persians have no authentic history which reaches higher than the accession of the 
Sassanian dynasty : consequently, though they may have preserved a tradition of the great 
Cyrus which corresponds with the narrative of Herodotus, their history down to the Macedo- 
' nian conquest, which Mr. Richardson confronts with the Greek history of the same period, 

cannot be at all depended upon. The matter seems to me of considerable importance, because 
Mr. Richardson exhibits the Persians as producing a history which can never be reconciled 
either with Scripture or with the Greek historians: unless therefore ae are ■willing to give up 
the verity of the latter, ■we must deny the authenticity of the former. But let us hear the 
judicious observations of Sir William on the subject, and our faith will probably not be much 
shaken by the discrepancy in question. 

It may seem strange, that the ancient history of so distinguished an' empire should be yet so 
imperfectly known ; but very satisfactory reasons may be assigned for our ignorance of it .- the 
principal of them are the superficial knowledge of the Greeks and the Je'ws, and the loss of 
Persian archives or historical compositions. That the Greek writers before Xcnophon had no 
acquaintance with Persia, and that all their accounts of it are whoWy fabulous, is a paradox 
too extravagant to be seriously maintained : but their connection with it in peace or war had 
indeed been generally confined to bordering kingdoms under feudatory princes; and the first 
Persian emperor, whose life and character they seem to have known with tolerable accuracy, 
was the great Cyrus, whom I call, without fear of contradiction, Cai-Khosrau. 

As to the Persians themselves, who were contemporary with the Greeks and Jews, they must 
have been acquainted with the history of their own times and with the traditional accounts of 
past ages : but, in the numerous distractions which followed the overthrow of Dara, especially 
in the great revolution on the defeat ofYezdegird by the Saracens A. D. 657 — 651, their civil 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 73 

existence of a primeval Zeradusht is deduced from tlie authentic source -of •="*''• »'• 
Greek writers : while the opinion, that there was only one later Zeradusht 
who lived in the reign of Darius Hystaspis, rests, so far as I can understand 
the question, upon the testimony of authors ; who, flourishing in a compara- 
tively modern age, are in complete discordance with every record, sacred 
and profane, that can be deemed genuine. I cannot therefore hesitate 
for a moment to decide in favour of the evidence brought forward hv Mr. 
Bryant: whence I conclude, that there was a primeval Zeradusht, the same 
personage as Menu or INIahabad or Buddha ; wlio was long anterior to that 
later Zeradusht, who assumed the name and imitated the heaven-descended 
book of his remote predecessor. 

Mr. Richardson says, that no two cliaracters can be more unlike, than 
that of the Persian Zeradusht and that of tlie Greek Zoroaster : and he very 
justly, I think, censures Dr. Hyde and other orientalists for painfully la- 
bouring to identify them. ' In fact, there is nothing, very wonderful, that 
two persons, who for the most part arc entirely distinct, should have no 
mutual resemblance. The Persian Zeradusht, according to Sir William 
Jones and in the judgment of the Persian writers, is that later Zeradusht, who 
seems to have flourished in the reign of Darius Hystaspis and to have been 

histories zoere lost, as those of India have unhappily been. Hence it happened, that nothing 
remains of genuine Persian history before the dynasty of Sasan, except a few rustic tradi- 
tions and fables, Khich furnish materials for the Shahnamah and which are still supposed to 
exist in the PaJilavi language. All the annals of the Pishdadi or Assyrian race must be con- 
sidered as dark and fabulous ; and those of the C ay ani family or the Medes and Persians, as 
heroic and poetical : though the lunar eclipses, said to be mentioned by Ptolemy, fix the time 
of Gushtasb, the prince by whom Zeradusht was protected. Of the Parthian kings, descended 
from Arshac or Arsaces, we know little more than the names : but the Sasanis had so long an 
intercourse nit h the emperors of Rome and Byzantium, that the period of their dominion may 
be ctlled an historical age. Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 45 — 49. 

The sum is this : neither Jews nor Greeks seem to have known much of Persia before the 
time of Cyrus ; but from his reign their accounts accord, and are checked by the astronomi- 
cal canon of Ptolemy. Are we then to give up ^/ieir accounts, which undesignedly correspond 
with each other, in favour of the mere fables of the modern Persians ; whose genuine history, 
so far as it is preserved by themselves, reaches no higher than the timeof Yessdegird ? I think 
rot. 

' Richardson's Dissert, sect. ii. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. K 



BOOK III. 



74 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

the compiler of the work whence the present Zend-Avesta has been taken. 
The Zoroaster of the Greek writers, on the contrary, is, generally speaking, 
a different and primeval Zeradusht ; the same character as the Indian Menu, 
or the transmigrating great father. To him, I conceive, the genuine heaven- 
descended Zend-Avesta was ascribed : and, if the account of the Mahaba- 
dians given in the Dabistan of Mohsan be not altogether spurious, I am 
firmly persuaded, that the primitive mythological Zeradusht (the Zoroaster 
of the Greeks) was no other than Mahabad or the great Buddha, whom Sir 
William Jones rightly identifies with Menu ; and that the real prototype and 
groundwork both of the present Zend-Avesta, and of its predecessor the 
Zend-Avesta which the later Zeradusht pretended to be of heavenly origin, 
was that sacred book in a celestial language which Mahabad is said to have 
received immediately from the Creator. At any rate, the internal evidence, 
afforded by the contents even of the Zend-Avesta which we now possess, 
appears to me directly to contradict the opinion of Dr. Prideaux, that its 
history of the early ages vvas a mere plagiarism from the Pentateuch. I am 
willing therefore to rest in the belief, that this history is composed of certain 
curious fragments of genuine antiquity, wrought up into a more regularly 
chronological form, either by a later Zeradusht who had conversed with the 
Jews of the captivity, or by the more modern compiler of the present Zend- 
Avesta ; much in the same manner as Ovid, probably from his having pe- 
rused the translation of the Seventy, has arranged more systematically the 
materials afforded him by Hesiod and other old writers. 

If we may credit the testimony of the Greek and Latin authors, there were 
several Zoroasters in different parts of the East ; some of whom appear to be 
the same as the later Zeradusht of Hyde and Prideaux, while others are 
plainly far anterior, and seem at the bottom to be that compound primeval 
character who under various appellations was reverenced as the great univer- 
sal father. There was a Zoroaster in Assyria, another in Media, another 
in Armenia, another in Bactria, and another (according to Hyde himself) 
even in China. ' All these I take to be that one transmigrating ancient person ; 

' Suid. Lex. Arnob. adv. gent. lib. i. p. 31. Clem. Alex. Strom, lib. i. p. 399- lib- v. p. 
711. Justii). lib. i. c. 1. Syncell. Chronog. p. 167- Hyde de rel. vet. Pers. p. 315. Huet. 
Demons. Evan. prop. iv. p. 89. cited by Bryant. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 75 

t\ho, by the name of Buddha or Fold or Menu or Mahabad or Saca, was 
worshipped so extensively : and the ascribing of them to different countries 
imports no more than this; that a hero-god decorated with the attributes of 
the great father was every where adored, and that the genealogy of all nations 
ultimately terminated in Noah and Adam. 

The Armenian Zoroaster was the reputed son of Armenius : and, like Bac- 
chus, Osiris, and Adonis, he is said to have experienced a renewal of life 
and to have learned many things of the gods during the time that he lay 
dead. This is plainly a diluvian fable; and is nothing more than a modifica- 
tion of the Hindoo legend, that, during the period between two successive 
worlds, the great father reposes in a deathlike sleep on the surface of an uni- 
versal inundation. Armenia was the country where the Ark rested ; and the 
death and revival of Zoroaster is the mystic death and revival of the great 
father : his death, as Adam or the Menu of the antediluvian world, when he 
entered into the Ark ; his revival, as Noah or the Menu of the postdiluvian 
world, when he quitted it. Sometimes the egress was esteemed a new birth, 
as well as a resurrection from the dead. Hence this Zoroaster is reported to 
have been born on one of the Gordi&an mountains; that is to say, precisely 
in that hilly region, where the Ark grounded, and where Noah was born 
from it. He is also feigned to have had an intercourse with the Deity on a 
mountain of Armenia, and to have been preserved unhurt though it burned 
with fire. Tliis fable originated, agreeably to the double character of the 
great father, in part from the manifestation of the Cherubim before the garden 
of Eden ; and in part from the sacrifice of Noah, and his conversation with 
God revealed in the Shechinah, immediately on his quitting the Ark. Each 
took place in the same mountainous country of Armenia : for, where Zoroas- 
ter is feigned to liave been born and to have held high converse with the 
Deity; there Adam vias first created, there Paradise once flourished, there 
the Ark rested, and there Noah was born a second time from the womb of 
the mystic great mother.' 

The Bactrian Zoroaster is said to have lived in the time of Ninus, and to 
have been a contemporary of Semiramis. This likewise brings us to the 

' Abulfeda apud Hyde, p, 312. Dion. Chrysostom. Oiat. Borysth. ji. 44S. apud Bryant, 



CHAP. III. 



76 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATUY. 

«ooK III. (liiuyjajj ag(, . fpj. jijg fabulous Seiiiiramis was supposed to be the daughter of 
Dcrceto or Atargalis or the Syrian goddess, and to have been changed into 
a dove; as her reputed parent, who was no other than the Ark, assumed 
the shape ofafisii to escape from tlie ragcof Typhon or tlie diiuvian ocean. 
The son of Derceto, and therefore the imaginary brother of Scmiraniis, was 
called Icthi/s or the Fish. He was no doubt the same as Dagon or Noah : 
for Icthys is a mere Greek translation of Dagon ; and Dagon is the title, 
under which the Philistines or Palli of old venerated the great father, as 
their brethren the Chasas or Indo-Scythas of Bokhara and Cashgar and Ava 
do at the present day. ' Among the latter, Dc'o'w?/ is still an appellation of 
Buddha or the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish : and Buddha is thought 
to have been born in the very same high region with the Bactrian Zoroaster ; 
that region, which, comprehending Bokhara and Cashgar, may be distinguish- 
ed by the general appellation of the Indian Caucasus. Such are the charac- 
ters, with whom Zoroaster is made contemporary : nor Mas it without reason ; 
for the land of his pretended nativity is the precise country of mount Mcru, 
and he himself is the very same character as Buddha or Menu or Dagon. 

As for the period, in which the Zoroaster of the Greek writers flourished, 
it cannot possibly be reconciled with the reign of Darius Hystaspis, Xanthus 
the Lydian makes him six hundred years prior to that prince. Suidas, on' the 
authority of an anonymous writer, places him five centuries before the siege 
of Troy. Hermodorus, Hermippus, and Plutarch, concur in fixing him no 
less than five thousand years before the same era. Eudoxus supposes him 
to have lived six thousand years before the death of Plato. Pliny ascribes 
to him an antiquity many thousand years higher than that of Moses ; and re- 
presents him, from Hermippus, as being the pupil of Azonac, who makes a 
conspicuous figure in the Chaldean oracles, and who like Zoroaster himself 
is the great father. He moreover tells us, that he laughed on the day of his 
nativity ; a fable, which exactly corresponds widi the Samothracian tradition 
of the laughter of the new-born Jupiter, Lastly, Plato supposes him to be 

• Luc. de (lea Syra. «cct. 14. Artemid. Oniroc. lib. i. c. 9. Euscb. Pia?p. Evan. lib. i. 
c. 10. Glyc. Annal. p. 184. Ovid. Metatn. lib. iv. vcr. 44. Atbcnag. Legat. p. 33. Athen. 
Dcipnos. lib. viii. p. 346. Dissert, on Cabiri. vol. i. p. 85—87. Syraes's Embass. to Ava. 
\,ol. ii. p. 110. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 77 

the son of Ormuzd, the highest god of the Persians ; who in the Zend-Avesta ''"^''' '"• 
undoul)tedlv appears as the Supreme Being, but uho (I believe) was really 
no other than the great father clothed with the attributes of Deity. ' 

These varying accounts, while they concur in proving that a primitive 
Zoroaster ought to be placed in a most remote age, plainly shew, that such 
a character as that which f^^Cj/ describe could not have lived in the reign of 
Darius Hystaspis; for, if there had been only a shigle Zcradusht (as Hyde 
and Prideaux contend) and he a contemporary of Darius, it is incredible that 
the western writers should have made such enormous chronological blunders 
respecting him ; they must have known, that both he and his religion were 
comparatively modern. In fact, the primeval Zoroaster, who (I am per- 
suaded) was the same as Buddha or ]\Ienu, lived in an age or (to speak more 
properly) in ages, to which the traditions indeed of the Gentiles extended, 
though not their regular chronological history. He lived, for he was a com- 
pound character, in the Paradisiacal and diluvian ages : and, like Buddha or 
Menu, was in the first instance Adam reappearing in the person of Noah; 
though, agreeably to the notion of every eminent patriarch or reformer being 
an intermediate manifestation of the great father, he may also be in some sort 
identified both with Ham and with Cush, the ancestors of all the Gothic or 
Scuthic tribes. Thus Cassian very reasonably thinks, that he was Ham; 
and Annius of Viterbo makes his false Berosus assert the same : while Gre- 
"ory of Tours supposes him to have been Cush. * Indeed some such opinion 
must necessarily result from his being ascribed to so very remote a period : 
and tlie manner, in which I have stated it, best accords with the doctrines 
that prevailed so extensively throughout the pagan world ; Zoroaster was, in 
one word, the Buddha or J\Ienu of the Chusas of Iran. 

It is a curious circumstance, that the ancient Irish should also have had a 
Zcradusht, and that both they and the Persians (who in this instance seem 

' Diog. Laer. in proccm. p. -T. Suid. I.cx. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. vii. c. l6". lib. xxx. c. 1. 
Plut. (If? Isid. et Osir. p. 369. Plat, in Alcib. lib. i. p. 1C2. Mos. Choren. p. 16, 4,7. Eu- 
<ob. Chion. p. 32. Syncell. Chronog. p. l6'7. apud Bryant. Ptol.Heph. Nov. Hist. lib. vii. 
Dissert, on Cabiri. vol. ii. p. 153 — 1 58. 

* Cassian. CoUat. c. 21. apud VcUanccy. Beros. Ant, lib. li. fol. 25. Greg. Turon. Rer. 
Franc, lib. i. apud Bryant. 



78 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

SOUK III. to iiave confounded together the primitive and the later Zeradusht) should 
liave designated his mother by the name of Doghdu or Daghda* The 
close resemblance between the religion of Persia and that of the British 
isles was observed by Borlase ; and the complete identity of the old super- 
stitions of the Druids, the Magi, and the Brahmens, has been since sa- 
tisfactorily established by Vallancey, Wilford, Maurice, and Davies : so that 
the appearance of this mythological character in Ireland may be accounted 
for without much difficulty. Doghdu or Daghda or Dag-Deva signifies 
thejish-goddess. This fabulous personage, the allegorical consort of Dagon 
or Buddha in one point of view and his parent in another, is certainly the 
Ark : whence Buddha, whom I contend to be the same as Zoroaster, and 
who bears the masculine title of Dagon or Dagun, is sometimes styled the 
sovereign prince of the belly of the Jish. Among the Syrians she appears 
as the fish-goddess Derceto or Atargatis ; who was esteemed the universal 
receptacle or hiding-place of the hero-gods, who was the reputed parent of 
the dove Semiramis and the fish-god Icthys or Dagon, who was thence said 
to be contemporary with the primeval Zoroaster, and who is evidently the 
vratery goddess Deargand Durga of the ancient Irish and Hindoos. In the 
old Celtic mythology of Ireland, the children of this Zeradusht were called 
Mithr or Midhr ; an appellation palpably the same as the title of the Per- 
sian Mithras, who was reported to have triplicated himself. The offspring 
therefore of Zeradusht was Mithras triplicated ; as Mithras in unity was 
Zeradusht viewed separately from his children : and this self-triplication, 
which equally occurs in the mythology of Hindostan and indeed of every other 
ancient nation, means only, that the greatfather, whether Adam or Noah, was 
the parent of three sons, with whom each similar successive world invariably 
conunenced. ' 

' Vallancoy's Vindic. of anc. hist, of Ireland. Collect, de reb. Hibern. vd. iv. p. 1<)7, 
198. Hyde dc rel. vet. Pers. p. 312. 

* Gen. Vallancey says, that the Irish have preserved and ascribe to their Zeradusht the 
very prophecy respecting the advent of the Messiah, which Abulpharagius attributes to the 
Persian Zeradusht. As it is difficult to conceive how this could have been a forgery of the 
monks in the middle ages, we seem obliged to conclude, either that the prophecy was really 
contained in some more ancient Zend-Avesta, or that an emigration to Ireland took placo 



THE OllIOIX OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 79 

But though the classical writers justly ascribe the Magianism of Persia to chap.ih. 
a very ancient Zoroaster, long anterior to the time of Darius Hystaspi? ; for 
Aristotle places Zoroaster as long before Plato as Eudoxus does, and tells us 
(very truly, I believe) that the Magi of Persia were prior even to the Egyp- 
tians : ' they were not ignorant of the existence of a later Zoroaster, who is 
certainly the Zeradusht of Hyde, Prideaux, and Sir William Jones, and 
who seems to have flourished during the reigns of Darius and his son Xerxes. 
Thus Pliny ascribes a Zoroaster to the age of the latter of these princes; and 
therefore of course distinguishes him from that primeval Zoroaster, whom he 
himself places many thousand years before the days of Moses : thus Clemens 
Alexandrinus mentions a Persian Zoroaster, who was visited by Pythagoras; 
and thus Agathias speaks of a Zoroaster, who lived in the time of Hys- 
taspes, though he confesses himself unable to ascertain who this person was. * 
All these seem plainly to be that Zeradusht, who reformed the ^lagianism 
of Hushang as he had reformed that of his predecessors, and who was pro- 
bably the compiler and editor of the work whence the present Zend-Avesta 
has been taken. But, when I consider the texture of the early history con- 
tained in it, I can no more persuade myself either that he was the inventor 
of it or that he stole it from the Pentateuch, than I can believe that the 
beginning of the Metamorphoses was the sole and original production of 
Ovid or that Tzetzes was the author of the fables contained in the scholia on 
Lycophron. 

III. I may now proceed to offer a few observations on the curious legend, 
which has produced this long discussion, and which from the mternal evi- 
dence afforded by it I suppose to be a genuine relic of ancient eastern my- 
thology new modelled and corrected by the later Zeradusht and his successors. 
Such observations therefore will be made with a special eye to the Penta- 
teuch ; in order that it may thus clearly appear, that the materials of the 

subsequent to the time of Darius Hystaspis. Viiid. in Collect, de rcb. Hib. vol. iv. p. 196, 
200, 5201. 

i Huet. Demons. Evan. prop. iv. p. 88, 89. Diog. Laer. in procem. p. 6. 

^ Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xxx. c. 1. Clem. Akx. Strom, lib. i. p. 35?. Agath. de Pers. lib. 
ii. p. 62. apud bryant. 



80 THE ORIGIK OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK m. Zend-Avestaic mythology could not have been borrowed from the sacred 
volume during the period of the Bahjlonian captivity. 

1. The Dabistan of Mohsan leads us to conclude, that the early supersti- 
tion of the Iranian RIagi was substantially the same as that of the Indian 
Brahmens : and, accordingly, we find a very close resemblance between the 
theology of the Zend-Avesta and that of the Puranas. Several points of tliis 
resemblance have already been incidentally noticed ; and others, as weadvance 
in the inquiry, will continue to present themselves to our view. 

From the sacred records of Hindostan we learn, that, at the beginning of 
the world, numerous celestial spirits were formed capable of perfection, but 
with the powers of imperfect ion, both depending on their voluntary choice; 
that a considerable part of the angelic bands rebelled ; that they were cast, 
together xvith ]\Iahasoor their leader, into Onderah or the abyss of intense 
darkness ; and that there they continued for an inwicnse period in penal tor- 
ments. Here the Mahasoor of the Brahmens is evidently the Ahriman of 
the Zend-Avesta : and the Onderah and the Dewtahs of the former are no 
less evidently the Douzakh and the Dews of the latter. The resemblance is 
too close to be accidental : yet, from whatever source the compiler of the 
Zend-Avesta might borrow such a tenet, he certainly could not have received 
it from the Pentateuch. M'e may indeed, from the INIosaical history of the 
fall, covertly gather the existence of a malignant and evil spirit : but we 
have no account of the manner, in which he deflected from his original pu- 
rity ; nor is the least mention made, either of his daring associates, or of 
any place of torment to which they were consigned. 

2. In the Zend-Avesta, the first man-bull Key-Umursh is clearly Adam : 
and the second man-bull Taschter, who appears at the time of the deluge, 
can only be Noah. Of these, the latter was deemed a transmigratory re- 
vival of the former. For the title Key-Umursh, which in the Sanscrit de- 
notes the great lord of the World, k, throughout the legends of Persia, in- 
differently applied both to Noah and to Adam. Hence it Mill follow, that 
Taschter was viewed as a reappearance of the primeval Key-Umursh.' 

The whole of this perfectly accords with the general tenor of old mytho- 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 530. vol. ii. p. 6\, 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 81 

logy ; in which the second great father was esteemed a transmigratory mani- chap. m. 
festation of the first, and in which the symbol of a bull or a man- bull was 
invariably used to represent that ancient personage. But we find no traces 
of any such speculations or practices in the Pentateuch : the naked history 
of Adam and Noah is there soberly and literally detailed, without the least 
hint being given us either of the doctrine of the Metempsychosis or of the use 
of any tauric symbol being employed to shadow out those two patriarchs. 
Hence again the compiler of the Zend-Avesta could not have been indebted 
to Moses for his materials. 

3. While the Zend-Avesta gives a very full account of the flood, it may 
seem not a little extraordinary, that no direct mention should be made in 
it either of the Ark or of the preservation of the second man-bull. Such 
however is doubtless the case : yet, notwithstanding this apparent deficiency, 
the ship of the deluge is by no means passed over in silence ; it is noticed 
obscurely and symbolically, if not ostensibly and literally. 

When mount Albordi appears above the boundless inundation, the waters 
are said to retire firom the Arg-Roud. If then the waters retired from the 
Arg-Roud, when the summit of Albordi began to emerge from the flood, 
the Arg-Roud must necessarily have been something on the top of Albordi. 
But Albordi is evidently the scriptural Ararat; because each is similarly re- 
presented as rising out of the waters of the deluge. The Arg-Roud there- 
fore on the top of Albordi can only be the Ark on the top of Ararat. Now 
with such a conclusion its name exactly accords. The word Arg-Rad, or 
(as M. Perron expresses xt) Arg-Roud, is a Persic compound; of which the 
first syllable is the familiar appellation of the sacred ship Argha or Argo, 
while the second denotes a Magus or Druid. Hence the name Arg-Rad is 
equivalent to the Argha of the Magus: and by the Magus we are obviously 
to understand the primeval Zeradusht, or Noah in his fabled character of 
the first Archimage." This part of tiie legend therefore, Mhen analysed, 
coincides indeed minutely with the narrative of Moses ; but could not l>ave 
been directly borrowed from it. Consequently, the editor of the Zend-r 
Avesta must have received it from some other source : and that other source 

' Vallancey's Vind. Collect, dc reb. Uib. vol. iv^ p. 198. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. ir. L. 



82 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 

BOOK III, can only have been the old theological system of his country, which was 
the same as the general theological system of Paganism in every part of the 
world. 

The same remark will apply with yet greater force to the symbolical man- 
ner, in which the Ark is covertly pointed out by that writer in the accre- 
dited phraseology of the ancient IVIysteries. We are told, that the seed or 
offspring of the second man-bull was, during the prevalence of the flood, 
purified in the Jiloon; and that from it every thing postdiluvian afterwards 
proceeded. Now in the Pentateuch there is nothing that at all resembles 
this extraordinary fable : yet the history, whether told by Moses or by Zera- 
dusht, is fundamentally the same. The Moon, extiibiting as it does the 
form of a boat during its first and last quarters, was universally adopted by 
the Gentiles as the astronomical type of the Ark : and the confinement of 
tlie Noetic family within this floating Moon was viewed in the light of a pe- 
nance, which eft'ected the purification of the temporary prisoners. 

4. The name, which the mountain of the Arg-Roud bears in the Zend- 
Avesta, is Albordi. Here again we have a proof, that at least the materials, 
out of which that work has been compiled, were ancient and original pagan 
documents. The peak of the Ark is by Moses styled Ararat ; a word, 
which bears not the least resemblance to Albordi. Hence it is clear, that 
the Zend-Avestaic appellation of the sacred hill has not been taken from the 
Pentateuch. Yet it is sufficiently easy to discover the source, whence it 
has been received : and that source is real Paganism. The old mythological 
names, bestowed upon the Armenian hill where the Ark was believed to 
have grounded, were Baris, Luban, and Lubar. Of these, the last seems 
to be a compound of the other two : and, if it be somewhat more fully ex- 
pressed Labardov Albard, we shall have the precise appellation of the holy 
Persic mount Albordi. The import of the word, as I have elsewhere had 
occasion to observe, is the Ship of the Moon : but the Moon, of which the 
diluvian peak Albordi was one of the many sacred mountains or high places, 
is that very symbolical Moon, within which the offspring of the second man* 
bull is feigned to have been purified at the time of the deluge, and from 
which all things were subsequently produced. 
5. We learn from the Dabistan, that in the old Iranian theology the uni- 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 83 

versal father was called Maha-Bad or the great Buddha : and what we are chap. m. 
thus taught by Mohsan perfectly accords with the legend contained in the 
Zend-Avesta. 

The sacred bull, which was animated by the soul of the first man-bull 
Key-Umursh just as the Egyptian Apis was supposed to be animated by the 
soul of Osiris, is said to have been called Aboudad. Tliis I take to be the 
compound appellation Ab-Boud-Tat, which s\gni^GS father Buddha-Tat: 
for Boud is but one of the many various modes of writing Buddha ; and 
Tat or I'ttut or Teut is a name of this deity equally familiar to the Hindoos, 
the Phenicians, the Egyptians, the Celts, and the Goths. 

The early worship therefore of Iran, according to the Zend-Avesta, was 
the worship of Buddha or Tat under the form of a bull compounded with 
the human form of the great universal father. But neither such names, nor 
such notions, nor such an application of the tauric symbol, could have been 
borrowed from the Pentateuch. 

6. At the time of the deluge, Aboudad reappears in tlie character of 
the second man-bull Taschter, precisely as the tauric JNIenu-Swayam- 
bhuva of Hindostan reappears in the character of the tauric Menu-Saty- 
avrata. The Zend-Avesta describes this transmigrating personage, as hav- 
JBg three combined bodies ; that of a man, that of a bull, and that of a 
horse : and represents him, as attended by three inferior associates ^vho were 
jointly employed with himself in bringing on the catastrophe of the deluge. 

Here the legend partially agrees, and partially disagrees, with the Penta- 
teuch. The three associates of Taschter are manifestly the three sons of 
Noah: but, to acquire the knowledge of such a triad, tlie compiler of the 
Zend-Avesta had no occasion to consult tlie writings of Moses. Three jirin- 
cipal demon-gods, the ofi'spring of a yet older demon-god, were venerated 
in almost every system of pagan theology : and, that the fable before us 
was borrowed from this universal veneration of a triad and not from the dilu- 
vian history contained in the Pentateuch, may safely be inferred from that 
part of it which bears not the least resemblance to tlie simple narrative of 
the inspired penman. As Taschter is hterally said to have been attended by 
three companions : so, when the same idea was, expressed symbolically, he is 
feigned to have been a monster uniting three bodies in a. single form. Now 



.84 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

»ooK III. jj^pj^ g composition produces the exact figure of the Centaur, the equine man- 
bull of classical superstition : for this liieroglyphical being had the head, 
shoulders, and arms, of a man ; the body of a horse ; and the tail and clo- 
ven feet of a bull.' By some he was thought to be Chiron, the son of Sa- 
turn : but, according to Lycophron, he was Saturn himself ; that is to say, 
he was Noah.* Between these two opinions however there is no real differ- 
ence : for Saturn and Chiron, though described as father and son, are in 
reality one and the same personage viewed under somewhat different aspects. 
On the sphere, the Centaur appears issuing from the ship Argo and bearing 
a victim towards an altar : while the dove, the raven, and the great sea-ser- 
pent, are in his immediate vicinity. Such a group, when we recollect the 
£uthic or Baby Ionic origin of the constellations as depicted on the celestial 
globe, certainly represents, to adopt the phraseology of the Zend-Avesta, the 
equine man-bull Taschter issuing from the Arg-Roud as it rested on tlie 
summit of Albordi. 

7. There is one more particular in the early history of tlie Zend-Avesta ; 
which deserves our attention, as alike connecting it with old mythology, and 
as shewing that the materials of which it is composed could not have been 
borrowed from Scripture: Taschter, though he existed upon earth, is yet 
spoken of both as the Sun and as a Star. 

(1.) In the theology of the Gentiles, all those deities, whose history 
proves them to be in their human capacity the great father, were yet in their 
celestial character venerated as being the Sun. Of this twofold nature, 
accordingly, Taschter is represented as partaking : he is at once Noah and 
the orb of day. 

(2.) But he is moreover said to be a Star : and his light is spoken of as 
shining on high during thirty days and thirty nights, while the waters of the 
deluge were increasing. This notion of a Star appearing at the epoch of the 
flood is not confined to the early history of the Zend-Avesta. Sanchoniatho 

• The licence of painters is apt to lose sight of the tauric part of the Centaur, though it it 
so clearly insinuated in the very name of the symbol, and to delineate nothing more than a 
man united to a fiery horse : but the true form is accurately exhibited in the print illustrative 
of Hygin. Poet. Astron. lib. iii. o 37. 

* Lycopb. Caesao. wi. 1200— 1203t Ktrfovfts, rjywy i Kfowj. Taeti. in loc. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 85 

tells US, that, while Astart^ or the great arkite mother, whose womb compre- *^''*'' "• 
bended all the hero-gods, was rambling about the world ; she found a Star 
falling from the sky, which she afterwards consecrated at Tyre: Pliny men- 
tions an old tradition of a comet having appeared during the reign of Typhon, 
that is to say, during the prevalence of the diluvian ocean, the effects of 
which were extremely tremendous : Hyginus informs us, that, when Phaethon, 
the son of Apollo, had set the whole world on fire by mismanaging the cha- 
riot of his father ; Jupiter, to quench the flames, caused a general inunda- 
tion, from which Pyrrha and Deucalion alone escaped in an ark : and from 
the ancient mythological writers we learn, that there were originally seven 
stars in the constellation of the Pleiades ; but that one of them, Electra the 
mother of Dardanus, who was reported to have been saved from a deluge 
both in Arcadia and Samothrace, suddenly quitted her station in the heavens, 
and wandering about with dishevelled hair became a comet. ' Now there is 
nothing set forth in the narrative of Moses to warrant the opinion, that some 
unusual Star became visible at the time of the deluge ; but it was very pre- 
valent, we see, in the gentile world : from primitive gentile tradition there- 
fore must Zeradusht have borrowed the Star of Taschter.* 

I think it probable, that this diluvian Star of Taschter, Astart^, Typhon, 
and Dardanus, was the Star of Moloch or Remphan mentioned by the prophet 
Amos and the protomartyr Stephen.' The compound word Remphan or 

' Sanchon. apud Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. c. 25. Hyg. 
Fab, 152, 192. Serv. in Virg. Georg. lib. i. ver. 138. Dionys. Halic. Ant. Rom. lib. i. c. 
61. Taetz. ill Lycoph. ver. 29. It may be observed, that, according to Hyginus, Electra 
became a comet on account of her grief for the loss of her son Dardanus ; and, according to 
Servius, on account of his death. His loss and his death mean the same as the fabled 
aphanism of Osiris ; that is to say, the inclosure of Noah within the Ark, which was his 
allegorical loss or death. The Hindoos, like the Greeks, suppose the Pleiades to have been 
once seven in number: for they make them to be the sidereal representatives of the wives of 
the seven arkite Rishis. Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 85. 

* My old friend and schoolfellow, Mr. Hoyle, ventures, in his fine poem of Exodus, to 
make Moses himself speak of a comet, as being one of the causes of the deluge. This is 
perfectly allowable in poetry, and the circumstance was probably a real matter of fact : but 
tie Pentateuch is silent on the subject. See Hoyle's Exodus, book vi. ver. 627—6*5. 

' Amos v. 26. AcU vii. 43. 



86 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

COOK III. Ram-Phan may either signify the lofty Phanes, or may possibly be the name 
of the Indo-Scythic Rama united with that of Phanes or Pan. This deity 
is rightly judged by Selden and Beyer, either to be the same as Saturn, or to 
be immediately connected with him under the appellation of Chiun. ' He is 
doubtless, I think, that great Pan or Mendes, whom the Egyptians reckon- 
ed the most ancient of the gods, and whom they placed at the head of their 
famous ogdoad of navicular deities : and Pan is the same as Phanes or Dio- 
nusus, whom the Orphic poet makes one of his primeval ti iad. He is cer- 
tainly the same also as Moloch, with whom he is associated : and Moloch 
again identifies himself with the Centaur Cronus or Taschter. According to 
Rabbi Simeon as cited by Paul Fagius, his face was that of a calf. ' He 
seems, in fact, like Taschter and the Minotaur, to have been a figure com- 
pounded of a man and a bull ; for, whether a human face and body was at- 
tached to the body of a bull or the head of a bull to a human body, the 
hieroglyphic is in each case radically the same : we may pronounce him 
therefore to be the man-bull of the Canaanites. The Star of Castor and 
Pollux is nearly allied to that of Taschter and Remphan. They were styled 
Dioicori, which is a title of the Cabiri : and, as the whole history of the 
great gods of Samothrace and Phenicia refers them to the deluge, so the 
Star of the Dioscori was esteemed peculiarly auspicious to mariners. The 
origin of the notion is sufficiently obvious : in the midst of a tempest which 
overwhelmed a Mhole world, the real or simulated Star of Noah shone with 
no baleful lustre on the favoured ship which preserved himself and his family. 
It may not be improper to notice, at the close of these remarks, the period, 
which the author of the Zend-Avesta ascribes to the increase of the waters 
and to the malignant influence of the Star of Taschter. Moses simply in- 
forms us, that rain was upon the face of the earth forty days and forty nights. ' 
Now, if the fabulous history of the Zend-Avesta were a mere servile trans- 
cript of the Pentateuch, I see no reason, why the compiler should not have 
expressed himself precisely in the same manner as his supposed prototype. 
But such is not the case : while he curiously preserves the sum total of forty 

' Seld. de diis Syr. synt. ii. c. 14. Beyer. Addit. in loc. 

* Scld. de diis Syr. synt. i. c. 6. ^ Gen. vii. 12. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 87 

days, he tells his story in such a manner as to shew that it must have 
been derived from a totally different source. During thirty days and 
thirty nights, the sidereal light of Taschter shone on high over a perishing 
world : and, during the space of ten additional days, he caused incessant 
rain to descend from under each of his three bodies. Here we have indeed 
the complete forty days : but the mode of specifying them can never have 
been borrowed from the Jewish lawgiver. 

8. The internal evidence, which has been produced, may now perhaps 
enable us to judge, whether we must not necessarily conclude, that the ma- 
terials (I argue only for the materials), out of which the early history of 
the Zend-Avesta has been compiled, are genuine relics of ancient mythology. 
The commencement of the book of Genesis it resembles in nothing but its 
grand outline : while every part of it teems with the notions common to the 
old mythologists in all parts of the world. Such notions the later Zeradusht 
could not have borrowed from the plain narrative of Moses : and their re- 
markable coincidence with the theological speculations of Paganism forbids 
the incredible supposition, that they were the novel productions of his own 
juyentive brain. Whatever particulars therefore may have been transferred 
into the present Zend-Avesta from the Hebrew Scriptures, the materials, 
out of which its early history has been framed, must unavoidably be esteemed 
fragments of primeval symbolizing tradition. 

If this opinion be well founded, and I see no reason to doubt it, I need 
scarcely observe, what a strong attestation we have to the veracity of the an- 
tediluvian and diluvian history of Moses. 

IV. After these remarks on the Zend-Avesta, I may be allowed to adduce 
two prayers of the Parsees : the one addressed to the Moon ; the other, to 
the sacred Bull. They exhibit in strong colours the nature of their worship; 
and shew with sufficient clearness, that the Moon which they adored was not 
solely and exclusively the planet, but that it was the planet considered as the 
astronomical symbol of that vessel in which were preserved the rudiments of 
a future world. 

1. The first prayer is an invocation of the Moon. 

I adore Ormuzd; I adore the Amschaspands ; I adore the Moon, which 
preserves the seed of the Bull: I adore, looking on high; I adore, looking 



88 THE ORIOIK OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

»ooK 111. hcloxv. May the Moon be favourable to me : she, who preseroeth the seed 
of the Bull ; she, who hath been created the only one of her kind; she, 
from whom proceeded animals of various descriptions. I make to her 
izeschne and neaesch. 

I adore Ormuzd ; I adore the Amschaspands ; I adore the Moon, which 
preserves the seed of the Bull : I adore, looking on high ; I adore, looking 
below. As the Moon increases, so she likewise decreases : during ffteen 
days she increases ; during ffteen days she decreases. JVhen she increases, 
we ought to adore her ; when she decreases, we ought to adore her : but, 
above all, zvhen she increases, it is our especial duty to adore her. O Moon, 
who increasest and xvanest ; thou Mooii, who preservest the seed of the Bull; 
thou, who art holy, pure, and great ; I make to thee izeschne. 

I regard that Moon on high: I honour that Moon, which is elevated : 
I regard on high the light of the Moon : J honour the light of the Moon, 
•which is elevated. 

When the light of the Moon diffuses heat, she causes trees to grow of the 
colour of gold: she multiplies the verdure upon the earth with the new 
Moon : with the full Moon come all productions. 

I ntake izeschne to the new Moon, holy, pure, and great : I make izeschne 
to the full Moon, holy, pure, and 'great : I make izeschne to the Moon,, 
which caused every thing to be born, holy, pure, and great. 

I invoke the Moon, which preserves the seed of the Bull: I adore, looking 
on high ; I adore, looking belozo.^ 

2. The second prayer is addressed to the sacred Bull : but its form is man- 
datory. 

Address your prayer to the excellent Bull: address your prayer to the 
pure Bull: address your prayer to those principles of all good: address 
your prayer to the rain, the source of plenty : addixss your prayer to the 
Bull, become pure, celestial, holy ; who has never been engendered, who is 

holy. 

When DJe ravages the world, when the impure Aschmogh weakens man 
who is devoted to him, the water spreads itself on high ; it descends in 

• Pfrron's Zend-Avesta, vol. iii. p. 17. apiid Bryant. 



THE ORlOrX OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 89 

abundance; that water dissolves into a thousand, into ten thousand sho-uers '"'•^*"- '"• 
of rain. I tell you, O pure Zoroaster, Let envy, let death, be upon the 
earth : still the water smites envy, which is upon the earth ; still it smites 
death, which is upon the earth. Let the Dew Dje multiply himself : if it 
be at sun-rise that he desolates the world, still the rain places every thinff in 
order again when the day is pure ; if it be in the night that Dje desolates 
the world, still the rain reestablishes every thing to Oshen. It falls in 
abundance : then the water renews itself, the earth renexvs itself; the trees 
renew themselves, health renews itself ; he, who gives health, reneus him- 
self 

JPlien the water spreads itself in the river Voorokesch'e, it raises itself, 
and mixes the grains with the earth and the earth xcith the grains. 
The xvater, xvhich raises itself , is the mea7is of abundance : the grains given 
by Ormuzd spring up and are multiplied. The Sun, like a vigorous courser, 
* darts with vuijesty from the summit of the terrible Albordi, and gives light 
to the world. From that mountain which he possesses, a mountain given by 
Ormuzd, he rules over the world: this is the xvay to the tzco destinies, above 
the grains given in abundance and above the water. JVhether it be before 
you have do?ie the evil, or before you have read the exxellent zvord, I cause 
every thing to spring up for you in abundance ; I, who then wash you xcith 
water. By water I purify a thousand things, xvhich I have given to you. 

JVhen the water spreads itself in the river Voorokesche, part of it raises 
itself, which falling in rain mixes the grains with the earth and the earth 
with the grains. The water, xchich raises itself, is the means of abundance. 
Every thing increases, every thing multiplies itself, upon the earth given by 
Ormuzd. The Moon, the depository of the seed of the Bull, darts with 
majesty from the summit of the terrible Albordi, and gives light to the 
tworld. From that mountain xvhich she possesses, a mountain given by 
Ormuzd, she rules over the world : this is the way to the two destinies, 
above thegrains given in abundance and upon the water. 

JVhen the water spreads itself in the liver Voorokesche, part of it raises 
itself, which falling in rain mixes the grains xvith the earth and the earth 
with the grains. The xvater, which raises itself, is the means of abundance. 
The cruel Dje, master of the magic art, raises himself imperiously; he 

Pag. Idol. VOL. ir. M 



90 THE OUIGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

BOOK in. i^risfics to exercise his violence. But the rain drives away Aschere, drives 
away Eghoiiere, drives uxvay Eghranm, drives aicay envy, drives awaif 
death. It drives away the serpent, drives aioay falsehood : it drives axvay 
the wickedness, corruption, and impurity, which Ahriman has produced in 
the bodies of 7nen. ' 

V. These prayers, wild as ihey appear, are evidently constructed on that 
early history of the Zend-Avesta, which I have recently discussed. Hence 
it is manifest, that the persons, who used them, received that history as the 
acknowledged basis of their popular theology. This circumstance therefore 
aftbrds another proof, that the materials at least of the history are genuine 
relics of pagan antiquity. We find the notions, which distinguish it, enter- 
ing into the forms of public worship: Avhichwe can scarcely suppose would 
have been the case, had the whole from beginning to end been a novel figment 
of the later Zeradusht, differing altogether from the mythological speculations 
of his predecessors. But, that the history does not differ from such specu- 
lations, may be safely inferred from the striking resemblance which it bears 
to the peculiar notions prevalent throughout the whole pagan world. The 
very ideas, which characterize the theologies of Egypt, Hindostan, Phenicia, 
Asia Minor, Greece, Italy, and Britain, may be clearly recognized in the 
Zend-Avesta and in the prayers formed upon its early history. 

1. The Moon, that preserves and purifies the seed or ofi^spring of the 
second man-bull, while the waters of the deluge cleanse the earth from the 
abominations introduced by the serpent Ahriman ; the Moon, that is invoked 
as the great universal mother, as the fruitful parent of all animals, as the 
holy birth-place of every postdiluvian production : that Moon, which pre- 
cisely corresponds with the Moon celebrated by the Hindoos and Egyptians, 
as the mother of the World, and as the receptacle of him who was preserved 
in an Ark during the period of a general flood : that Moon, I say, must 
plainly possess a character, superadded to its proper literal character of one 
of the areat lights of heaven. If the second man-bull, who flourished at the 
time of the deluge, and who is described as having three inferior companions, 
be the patriarch Noah : the Moon, which preserved his offspring while the 

' Zend-Avesta, vol.ii. p. 424. apud Brj'ant. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAJf IDOLATRY. §\ 

waters covered the earth, and which subsequently became the parent both c"**"-"'* 
of the animal and vegetable creation, must inevitably be the Ark ; which the 
old mythologists, in every part of the world, venerated under the astronomi- 
cal symbol of the navicular crescent. 

As the Ark is thus typified by the Moon ; so likewise Noah or the second 
man-bull, in exact accordance with the theological systems of other nations, 
is celebrated in the Zend-Avesta as being the Sun : for that very person, who 
astronomically is the bright orb of day, is yet, when assisted by three subor- 
dinate persons and himself assuming three forms upon earth, declared to 
have been the delegated human agent that produced the deluge. 

With these Sabian speculations, which extended themselves from Babel to 
every quarter of the earth, the two prayers now under consideration perfectly 
agree — In the former of them, we are explicitly taught, that the Moon, 
which was the object of Persic veneration, was both of a celestial and of a 
terrestrial nature. / adore the Moon, says the devout votary, looking up 
to heaven on high ; I adore the Moon, looking down to the earth below— ~ 
In the latter of them, both the Sun and the Moon are represented as pro- 
ceeding from the summit of mount Albordi, and as thence ruling the whole 
world. But this can only be true of Noah, and of the Ark : of Noah, the 
giver of health or (according to the parallel mythology of Hindostan) the 
great regenerative physician, who with all nature renewed himself after the 
deluge ; of the Ark, in which his offspring was preserved and purified during 
the prevalence of the waters, and from which it was believed to be born again 
into a new and more holy state of existence. For mount Albordi, the gift 
of Ormuzd and the favourite seat of universal dominion to the mystic Sun 
and Moon, was the first land which appeared above the retiring deluge, 
when the waters retreated on all sides from the Arg-Roud or from the Argha 
of the Magus Zeradusht. And the primitive Zeradusht, as we have seen, 
was himself, no less than the second man-bull Taschter, tlie patriaich Noal^ 
considered as a reappearance of Adam or the first man-bull Key-Umursh 
Aboudad. Hence, we may observe, the prayer of the aspirant is addressed, 
not only to the pure Bull, but likewise to the pure Zoroaster. ' 

' M. Perron uses the word Zoroastre, which 1 have accordingly translated Zoroaster : 
but, whether he substitutes the classical appellation for the oriental Zeradusht, or whether 



92 THE ORIGIN CV PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK III. ]3y tjjg use of such a key, which is equally aftbrded by tlie Zend-AvestEk 
itself and by other concurring mythological systems, the two prayers are 
sufficiently intelligible, though partly obscured by a sore of mystic jargon. 
The whole context of them, particularly when viewed in connection with the 
legendary history itself w hich furnishes the best explanation of their mean- 
ing, decidedly proves them to have a diluvian reference, mixed however, 
like the history, with an allusion to the fall of man and to the gross wicked- 
ness which H as the procuring cause of the flood. 

The Amschaspands, who are invoked along with Ormuzd and the Moon, 
were thought to be seven primitive celestial spirits. ' Their number, joined 
to the general context of the prayers and of the history, points out very 
unequivpcally what persons are intended by them. They are palpably the 
same as the seven inferior Rishis of Hindostan, who were saved with the 
head of their family in an ark ; tlie same as the seven ancient personages, 
who alone returned with the British just man Hu from the dale of the grievous 
waters, when he navigated an ocean without shore in the mystic ship which 
was a form of the great mother Ceridwen; the same as the seven Heliads, 
whose father Helias or the Sun once crossed the sea in a golden cup, and 
who was represented by the Egyptians sailing in a boat ; the same as the 
seven Titans, who were the children of the older Titan, Cronus or Saturn or 
Noah ; * the same as the seven Corybantes, who were the offspring of Cory- 
bas by the nymph Theba or the Ark ; and the same as the seven Phenician 
Cabiri, who were the sons of Sydyk or the just man, who were thought to 
have built the first ship, and w ho consecrated the relics of the ocean to Nep- 
tune at Berytus. They are the same likew ise as the seven primeval celestial 
spirits of the Japanese : and, to return to the Zend-Avesta, they are the same 
also as those Karfesters, who are described as escaping from the deluge and 
as commencing the parents of a new race on the summit of mount Albordi. 
For, as Cronus and the seven Titans were exempted from the general de- 

tbc very name Zoroaster here occurs in the original, 1 have no means of positively ascertaining. 
I suspect however the former to be the case, as I am assured that the name Zoroaster is wholly 
unknown to the Persians. 

' Lcs sept premieres esprifs celestes. 

* The Orphic poet addresses Cronus by the appellation of a^xifte Tjrax. Hyran. xii. 



THE OniGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 93 

struction which befell all the other Titans :' so, in the Zend-Avesta, amidst ''"*''■ '"' 
the general destruction of the impious Karfesters by the waters of the deluge, 
some of the same race were nevertheless preserved on the top of mount 
Albordi to be the principles of the renovated world. Accordingly, while the 
Orphic poet, in allusion to tlie submersion of the first race of mortals, places 
the Titans as a body beneath the earth in the deep recesses of Tartarus ; he 
yet speaks of thera as the ancestors and tiie primordial fountains both of men^ 
of fishes, of birds, and of beasts ; from you, says he, originates every ge- 
neration throughout the Universe. ^ Like the preserved Karfesters, they 
were the germina whence the new world proceeded : and we may equally 
trace the Noetic ogdoad in the seven Titans with their parent the hippocen- 
taur Cronus at their head, and in the seven Amschaspands with the hippo- 
centaur Taschter at their head; for, as Taschter is the equine man-bull of 
Persia, so Cronus is the equine man-bull of classical mythology. 

2. The -imagery however of the second prayer is more literally diluvian 
than that of the first, which throughout is highly symbolical. 

(1.) While the aspirant celebrates the cleansing and fructifying powers of 
rain in general; it is easy to see, what particular rain is the real burden of 
his song. Supplications are to be addressed to the pure Bull and to rain, as 
the principles of all good. Though the evil one may ravage the world, and 
bring destruction upon man so unhappily devoted to him : yet, when the 
diluvian tempest of desolation is abated, when the day is again serene; the 
rain replaces everything in right order. As we may learn by comparing the 
prayer with the history, water, in exact accordance with the mylholocrjcal 
notions both of Hindostan and Britain, is not only the instrument of ruin, 
but likewise the agent employed for the purification and regeneration of a 
corrupted world. The same idea is afterwards expressed in the prayer with 
greater clearness and more pointed application. The evil principle furiously 
goes forth to the work of destruction : but the rain chases away all his adhe- 
rents ; puts to flight the great serpent ; and washes out those stains of false- 
hood, vice, and impurity, with which the bodies of men had been infested 
by the machinations of Ahriman. 

•^ See my Dissert, on the Cabiri. chap.i.x. * Orpb. Hymn, xxxti. 



94 THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOK m. (2.) This serpent is said to be the form, which Ahriman assumed iii order 
to poison the first man-bull : from its influence likewise the deluge is repre- 
sented as [)rocceding. 

Here then we are unequivocally and unreservedly informed, what I have 
already intimated to be the case, that the Gentiles symbolized the flood by a 
vast serpent, because they believed it to have originated from the evil princi- 
ple. ' The serpent Ahriman, existing in the M'ater (to use the remarkable 
phraseology of the Zend-Avesta), and thence producing the deluge, is clearly 
the same two-fold mythological character as the Egyptian Typhon, the 
Greek Python, the Indian Vasookee, and the huge Gothic water-snake of 
Midgard. Plutarch rightly tells us, that the dragon Typhon was a personi- 
fication of the ocean ; and, that he represented the ocean at the precise time 
of the flood, is evident from tis being the agent, who compelled Osiris to 
enter into the ark and Horus or the renovated Osiris to take refuge in the 
sacred floating island. But he did not typify the ocean simply and c.vclusiveli/ : 
he was distinguished also, like Ahriman, by the characteristic marks of the 
evil principle. Hence the Egyptians and the Persians equally viewed the sea 
with abhorrence, and were peculiarly unwilling to trust themselves on its 
waters ; though it was highly venerated by both as a powerful divinity, and 
though by the mystic theocrasia which is so prominent a feature of ancient 
Pacranism it was often esteemed one of the material forms of the great father. 
(3.) As we proceed in our inquiry, additional light will be thrown on the 
character of the serpent. Ormtizd the just judge said to Neriosengh : 
After having made this pure place, the beauty of which uisplayed itself afar, 
I was marching in the greatness of my majesty. Then the serpent perceived 
me : then that serpent, that Ahriman, full of death, produced abundantly 
ao-ainst me, by thousands and by myriads, universal envy and opposition. * 
Yet all his efforts should eventually prove ineffectual. Though he might 
desolate the world by bringing upon it the waters of a mighty inundation, 
yet the rain would reestablish every thing in its right order against the days 
of Oschen. 

• Vide supra book ii. chap. 7- # I. 1. 2. 

* Vendidad Sadi iu Zend-Avesta, vol. ii. p. 429. apud Bryant. 



tUe origin of PAOATf IDOLATRY, 95 

Wc have here, if I mistake not, a very curious, though not singular, in- 
stance of the manner, in which the characters of Noah and the predicted 
Messiah were sometimes confounded together in the gentile world. Noah is 
one of the most eminent types of Christ : so eminent indeed, that the 
phraseology and machinery (if I may so speak) both of the Hebrew and of 
the Greek Scriptures is in a great measure constructed upon a continued 
allusion to his eventful history. It was this resemblance between the type 
and the antitype, which produced that otherwise unaccountable coincidence 
in many points of the character of our Saviour with that of the great father 
of the Gentiles : a coincidence, which has been alleged for the worst of 
purposes by certain modern infidel writers, and which cannot be wholly 
solved by the theory that many particulars were pilfered from the genuine or 
s})urious gospels and fraudulently employed to decorate the chief god of the 
eastern pagans. That much indeed has been done in this way, cannot for a 
moment be doubted : but, that many characteristics of the great father, 
which in due season proved to be characteristics of the Messiah, actually 
served to distinguish the great father long before the advent of tiie INIessiah^ 
can, I think, be as little doubted. It was in fact this partial resemblance, 
which caused the very abuse in question. When the ministry of Christ was 
closed, the resemblance was soon observed by the curious orientalists. This 
resernblance produced most of the early heresies, m itli which the speculative 
east was infected : for the votaries of the great father, embracing indeed 
Christianity, but unwilling to relinquish their long-fostered superstition, 
soon contended, that .Jesus was but one of the numerous manifestations of 
him ; who ever appeared, as a preacher of righteousness, as tlie retbruicr of 
an iron age, and as the introducer of a new age of gold. Wlien once they 
were prepossessed with this wild, thougli (according to t/ieir notions) spe- 
ciou!5, fancy ; the rest followed of course. The whole history of Christ was 
j^pplled to the great father: but it was so a])plied, only because a certain 
degree of resemblance had already been found to subsist between them. 
Thus, in the instance now before us, the Ncriosengh of the Zend-Avesta is 
evidently the Hindoo Nara-Sing or lion-avatar of \'ishnou: and Oschen, 
from the context of the passage, must be Noah ; because we are told, that 
against his days the waters of the deluge would reestablish every thing in 



ruAP. in. 



BOUK III, 



96 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

order. Yet, since in the inythology of Egypt, Hindostan, and Greeccr 
Noah is equally described as being pursued by the serpent or the evil prin- 
ciple bringing on the flood ; and since the original promise foretold, that the 
serpent should bruise the heel of him who should eminently be the seed of the 
Avonian : we find, with that strange degree of evidence which can scarcely be 
controverted, that in the person of Oschen, who is primarily Noah or the great 
father, the Magi fiom a very early period expected some mighty deliverer 
of man from the tyranny of the serpent and from the bondage of corruption. 

(4.) Oschen is palpably the same as Oshander-begha. But Oshander- 
begha is said to have been foretold by Zeradusht in the Zend-Avesta as a 
just man, who should appear in the latter days to bless the world by the in- 
troduction of holiness and religion. In his time there was likewise to ap- 
pear a malignant demon, who should oppose his plans and trouble his em- 
pire for the space of twenty years. Afterwards Osider-begha, who seems 
to be Oshander-begha under another appellation, was to revive the practice 
of justice, put an end to injuries, and reestablish such customs as are immu- 
table in their nature. To him kings were to be obedient and to advance 
his affairs ; the cause of true religion was to flourish ; peace and tranquil- 
lity were to prevail ; and discord and trouble were to cease.' 

It is easy to see, that this predicted Oschen or Oshander-begha is the 
person, whose manifestation on earth, at a time when the power of Ahri- 
man should be greatly restrained, is promised by Ormuzd to Goschoroun 
immediately upon the death of the first man-bull : and it is equally easy to 
see, that every part of the two-fold character of Oshander-begha and Osi- 
der-begha accurately corresponds with the two-fold character of the just 
man Noah antediluvian and postdiluvian, as he is represented in ancient my- 
thology, combating and finally subduing, though not without being first con- 
strained to flee himself, the serpent Typhon, or Python, or Ahriman, or 
Caliya. The difference consists only in the struggle of the great father 
being past, while this of Oshander-begha is spoken of by Zeradusht as yet 
future. But, after all, the difference is rather apparent than real. It was 
the grand doctrine of ancient Paganism, a doctrine which eminently pre- 

' See the original of this prediction in Hyde de rel. vet, Pers. c. xxxi. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 97 

vailed in the east, that "hat had once occurred was to occur again ; that, as <=■*'• 
the great father or the just man had been revealed at the commencement of 
the present world in conflict with the serpent which brought on the deluge, 
so he would again be revealed similarly in conflict with him at the beginning 
of another age; that, as he had heretofore been victorious, so he would 
again be victorious ; that, as he had already been an universal sovereign and 
had introduced a golden age of religious holiness, so he would again rule 
over all the kings of the earth, and usher in a remarkable period of justice 
and piety. Al! this would have been taught by Zeradusht, merely in accord- 
ance with the leading tenet of that ancient Babylonian superstition which 
spread itself from Shinar over the face of the whole earth, and without 
any necessary reference to the expected Messiah of Jews and Christians. 
And that this supposed prophecy at least had no such reference, though at 
first sight it might appear to have, may be very plainly collected from the 
character of Oschen; who is certainly Noah, because the waters of the de- 
luge were to reestablish every thing in order against his days. Hence, when 
Zeradusht predicted a future Oschen, who should again successfully contend 
with the evil principle, he in fact merely asserted a future deluge and the 
manifestation of a future Menu at the beginning of a new world. 

But, if we advance yet further, and observe how this personage is addi- 
tionally decorated in a more explicit prophecy also ascribed to Zeradusht, 
we shall probably be obliged to conclude, that, in whatever light Oschen 
might have been originally viewed, the character of the Messiah was in him, 
at some time or other, superadded to that of the great father. According 
to Abulpharagius, Zeradusht, the preceptor of the Magi, taught the Per- 
sians concerning the manifestation of Christ ; and ordered them to bring 
gifts to him, in token of their reverence and submission. He declared, that 
in the latter days a pure virgin would conceive ; and that, as soon as the 
child was born, a star would appear, blazing even at noon-day with undi- 
minished lustre. Vau, my sons, exclaimed the seer, will perceive its rising 
before any other nation. As soon therefore as you shall behold the star, 
follow it vhithersoever it shall lead you ; and adore that mysterious child, 
offering your gfls to him with profound humility. He is the Almighty 
JVord, which created the heavens.^ 

' Abulphar. apud Hyde de rcl. vet. Pcrs. c. xxxi. 
Pag. Idol. VOL. II. N 



BOOK III. 



99 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

Now, although from very remote times the great father was occasionally 
believed to have been born from a virgin, although in reference to that 
birth he was often viewed as existing in a state of infancy, and although he 
was frequently distinguished by a remarkable star possibly on account of 
the appearance of a comet at the epoch of the deluge : though all these 
particulars are certainly to be found in the multifarious history of the great 
father ; yet, when we consider them as thei/ stand connected together in the 
prophecy ascribed to Zeradusht, it is almost impossible not to feel persuaded, 
that the author of it must have seen the predictions of Balaam and Isaiah. 
The only question therefore is, whether the plagiarism was effected before 
or after the nativity of Christ. 

(5.) I am strongly inclined myself to believe, that it was effected before 
the Christian era. My reasons are these. 

It is well known, that an universal expectation of some mighty deliverer 
prevailed throughout the east previous to the time when our Lord was mani- 
fested in the flesh : and it is certain, that such a deliverer was actually ex- 
pected by the Magi, and that some unusual star was believed by them to be 
his appointed harbinger, because we find them journeying in quest of him 
as soon as they beheld the star. Now the sacicd account of this very ex- 
traordinary transaction is, in my mind, a strong proof, that the later Ze- 
radusht really delivered to the Magi some such prophecy, as that ascribed 
to him by Abulpharagius : not, of course, that I suppose him to have been 
inspired ; but we seem to have it proved to us, that he communicated to his 
disciples the predictions of Balaam and Isaiah under the pretence of their 
being his own. I trace the proof in the following manner. 

The Magi, noticed by St. Matthew, lived in a country directly east of 
Judea : this at once shuts out Arabia, and directs our attention to Chald^a 
and Persia. They are especially styled Magi : their name therefore, no 
less than their geographical locality, compels us to look to the same region 
for them ; because, although there were numerous colonies of the INIaghas 
to the east and south-east of Persia, and although some of them had pene- 
trated into Europe by a north-westerly direction, yet, if we travel due east 
from Jud^a (the route prescribed by St. Matthew), I doubt whether we 
shall find any of them before we reach Babylonia and the Persian territo- 
ries. If then they were Persians (and the same conclusion will follow, if 



THE OIIIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 99 

they were natives of some other country), they must have been traditionally 
taught by their predecessors, as those predecessors are said to have been 
taught by the later Zeradusht : for, if this were not the case, it is utterly 
impossible to account for the grounds of their conduct. We are explicitly 
told, that, while they were yet in the east, they beheld an unusual star; that 
they argued from its appearance the birth of the long-expected deliverer ; 
that they knew the deliverer would be born king of the Jews ; and that 
they undertook a journey from tlicir native land for the express pur[)ose of 
worshipping him and of offering to him presents.' But nothing uf this sort 
could have been done by them ; if they had not known the particulars, j&re- 
"oious to the advent of Christ, «hich Zeradusht is said by Abulpharagius to 
have revealed, in his stolen prophecy, to their forefathers. For, zvithout 
this antecedent knowledge, though they might have seen the star, they never 
could have imagined that it announced the birth of a great deliverer 
the king of the Jews ; and, though they might have indulged in many as- 
tronomical speculations respecting it, they never would have dreamt of 
travelling into Palestine in search of a wonderful infant : all this, without 
some antecedent knowledge, they would no more have done, than a mo- 
dern astronomer would take a voyage to America on a similar errand, because 
he had recently observed some remarkable comet. The whole narrative 
therefore of St. Matthew supposes and requires this antecedent knowledge : 
and, as he gives us not the slightest intimation that their acquaintance with 
the purport of the star was recently and specially derived from a divine com- 
munication, we have no warrant for solving the question in that manner. 
He simply represents them as declaring, that they had seen the star in the 
east, and that they well knew what such a phenomenon signified. All this 
knowledge therefore they possessed before the birth of Cln-ist : and, however 
it might be acquired by them, it is at any rate precisely that knowledge 
which the later Zeradusht is said to have communicated to tiieir predeces- 
sors. They acted, in short, in the identical manner in which they would 
have acted, supposing Zeradusht to have really made the communication in 
question : and, as their actions imply previous knowledge acquired in some 
manner, and as that precise knowledge is said to have been conveyed to 

' See Matth. ii. 



CHAP. III. 



nooK III. 



100 THE ORIGIN OF PAGANT IDOLATRY. 

them by Zeradusht which he himself might easily have acquired from the 
Hebrew Scriptures during the Babylonian captivity, I really see no sufficient 
grounds for litigating the general authenticity of the prediction ascribed to 
him by Abulpharagius. In this opinion I am the more confirmed by a very 
singular part of the declaration of the Magi themselves, as recorded by St. 
Matthew : they not only know, that the star announced the birth of a deli- 
verer in general, but that it signified the nativity of some wonderful Jewish 
king in particular. How did they learn this last circumstance; with which, 
it appears, they were already well acquainted before the manifestation of 
Christ ? The answer is perfectly easy, if we admit the authenticity of Ze- 
radusht's prediction : and the fact is precisely what might have been expect- 
ed, if we suppose (what in that case we must suppose) that he fabricated 
his self-appropriated vaticination out of the prophecies of Holy Writ. From 
them he would learn, that the star was to come out of Jacob ; that the vir- 
gin-born Immanuel was to be the sovereign of Judah ; that the expected in- 
fant was to be the Mighty God and the Prince of peace ; and that, although 
his government should ever be upon the increase, he should specially sit upon 
the throne of his father David.' Hence, I think, we may clearly perceive, 
how the eastern Magi came to know that the star-annouriced deliverer was to 
be a Jewish prince, and how Zeradusht was enabled to communicate that 
knowledge to them long before the advent of Christ. 

But there is yet another reason for believing, that the plagiarism of Ze- 
radusht was effected previous to the birth of our Lord, and that the predic- 
tion ascribed to him by Abulpharagius is not a forgery manufactured subse- 
quent to it. The connection between the Druids of the British isles and 
the Magi of Persia was inferred by Borlase from the palpable identity of 
their rites and tenets, even before the progress first of the Celts and after- 
wards of the Goths had been satisfactorily traced from the East. Now it 
is a remarkable circumstance, that in the old Irish history a parallel prophe- 
cy should be ascribed to a person called Zeradusht : and it is equally re- 
markable, that the prediction should be said to have been first delivered by 
a Daru or Druid of Bokhara, which was the supposed abode of the Persian 

' Compare Numb. xxiv. 17, 18, JJ). Iskiahrii, 14. viii. 8. ix. 6,7. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 101 

Zeradusht.' I see not, how this minute coincidence can be satisfactorily ac- *'°*''* "** 
counted for on the supposition that the Irish legend was the mere forgery of 
some monk of the middle ages : because, even if a person of that descrip- 
tion had been guilty, in the first instance and entirely from his own imagi- 
nation, of the pious fraud of putting the prophecy of a future deliverer into 
the mouth of Zeradusht, he could not possibly have known, that that very 
prophecy was ascribed in the east by Abulpharagius to a Zeradusht who was 
actually a Daru or Druid of Bokhara. This circumstance, so far I am 
able to judge of evidence, removes the suspicion of at least a thorough- 
paced forgery. Many of the Popish saints are undoubtedly nothing more 
than the gods of the Gentiles, whose fabulous history has been strangely 
transmuted into a pseudo-christian legend : but, if a romancincr monk of 
the dark ages had merely found an ancient personage, revered by the pagan 
Irish as a prophet under the name of Zeradusht, and if he had been dis- 
posed to ascribe to this personage a prophecy respecting the Messiah ; he 
could not have moulded the prophecy and the history attached to it into their 
present form. Supposing him to have possessed a sufficiency of learning to 
know that an ancient Persian legislator was mentioned by the Greek and La- 
tin writers under the title of Zoroaster, he never could have imagined, that 
the Zeradusht of tlie Irish history had any thing in common with this Zo- 
roaster^ because he could scarcely have known that by the Persians Zoroas- 
ter was called Zeradusht. But, without such knowledge, which I see not 
how he could well acquire, it never would have entered into his head to af- 
firm, that the Zeradusht who delivered the prophecy was a Druid or Ma^us 
of Bokhara. Or, if he had unaccountably and at hazard made such an 
affirmation, how happens it, that it should actually turn out to be the truth ? 
For the identical prophecy, which by the old Irish in the west is ascribed to 
Zeradusht of Bokhara, is given by Abulpharagius in the east to the very 
same person ; a circumstance, of which a monk in the middle ages could 
scarcely have been aware. 

The necessary result from this coincidence is both curious and important. 

' SeeVallancey's Vindic of anc. hibt. of Ireland. Collect, de reb. Hibern. vol. iv. p. 196 
—201. 



102 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

There must have been an emigration from Persia to Ireland, by the usual 
north-westerly route, subsequent to the original production of the prophecy 
of Zeradusht. But that prophecy could not have been manufactured prior 
to the time, when the later Zeradusht conversed with Daniel or with some 
Jews of the captivity ; because it exhibits internal evidence of having been 
stolen from the Hebrew Scriptures. Neither could it have been manufac- 
tured subsequent to the birth of Christ : because the actions of the Magi, 
as recorded by St. Matthew, prove, that they must have possessed the very 
knowledge which it conveys when they first beheld the star in their own 
country. Hence the emigration from Persia to Ireland must have taken 
place between the time of Darius Hystaspis, in whose reign the later Zera- 
dusht is with reason believed to have flourished, and the birth of Christ, 
which called the expecting Magi out of Persia or Chald^a. But, if it took 
place before the birth of Christ, then the prophecy ascribed to Zeradusht 
must also have been composed before the same era : because, since it has 
been discovered in Ireland, it can only have been brought there by the pre- 
christian emigrants from Persia. 

(6.) I think m'B may not obscurely collect, that the sentiments of Zera- 
dusht himself, respecting \h^ future deliverer, were much the same as those 
entertained of him, by many of the early eastern heretics, after he had been 
manifested. 

Oschen, we have seen, was equally a title of the just man Noah, for 
whom the world was renovated by the waters of the deluge, and of the ex- 
pected just man, who was again to contend with tlie evil principle in the last 
ages. Now, since Zeradusht, agreeably to the prevailing dogma of Pagan- 
ism, already maintained, that Oschen or Key-Umursh or the great father 
would hereafter appear at the beginning of a new world as he had heretofore 
appeared at the beginning of the present and the antediluvian worlds ; and, 
since he further knew, that that same great father, whether designated by the 
name of Taschter or Aboudad or Mahubad or Buddha, was eminently distin- 
guished by a star and was sometimes thought to have been born of a virgin : 
since these would be the doctrines and speculations of Zeradusht, in com- 
mon with the other philosophizing theologists of the east, previous to his hav- 
ing seen the prophecies of Balaam and Isaiah, it is easy to anticipate the 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 103 

theory which he would be apt to adopt after he had seen them. He would **'*^- '"• 
immediately conclude, that the predicted Messiah, whenever he should be 
revealed, would be nothing more than one of those reappearances of the great 
father, which his own mythological system taught him at stated inter- 
vals to expect. And such, which we may collect to have been the notion 
of Zeradusht from tiie circumstance of his applying the same title of 
Oschen to the just man whether past or future, was the precise idea 
of those mischievous philosophizing heretics who so early disturbed the 
peace of the church. They held, as their successors have done after 
them, that Christ was a descent of the virgin-born Buddha or Salivahana : 
and they garbled the already existing legend of the great father, by in- 
troducing into it various particulars from the history of Jesus, and by 
applying them to the character of their transmigrating hero-god. 

Whether the Magi, vrho travelled from the east to worship the infant 
Messiah, became converts to unadulterated Cliristianity and renounced the 
theory which vvas probably handed down to them from Zeradusht, we are not 
informed. They returned to their own country, and we hear nothing more of 
them. But, whether they did or did not acquire more just sentiments by 
conversing with Mary and Joseph, the report, which they must have brought 
back with them, would have a strong tendency to sow in the minds of their 
brethren, already impressed with the belief that the great father was about to 
be manifested for the purpose of reforming a corrupt world, those seeds, 
M hich afterwards produced so abundant a crop of Gnosticism and Manicheism. 

(7.) The mighty river Voorokesch^, which is mentioned very conspi- 
cuously in the second prayer, though it does not appear in the history, I 
take to be the principal sacred Paradisiacal river of the Persian mytholo- 
gists. It was to them, what the Nile was to the Egyptians, the Danube 
to the Celts, the Tanais to the Tauric Scythians, and the Euphrates to tlie 
Babylonians : it was to them, in short, what the Ganges has long been, 
and still is, to the Indo-Scythae and Hindoos. The original chief sacred 
river, of Avhich all the others were but locally-appropriated transcripts, 
is certainly the Euphrates; because it really flows from the Paradisiaco- 
diluvian region of Ararat or Lubar : and, since the Albordi of the Zend- 
Avesta is clearly the arkite mountain, whether the Persians supposed it 



104 THE ORIGIN OF PAOAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK in. literally to coincide with the Armenian Ararat or with the more eastern Meru 
of Hindoo theology, the prototype of the Voorokeschfe must be the Eu- 
phrates, though it may literally have been identified with some other 
stream. ' This sacred river, from the circumstance of its flowing fiom the 
mountainous country where the Aric rested, was esteemed a symbol of the 
oceanic deluge : whence conversely it became a familiar notion with the 
ancients to consider the sea as an enormous river. Thus the mythological 
poet Homer speaks continually of the streams of the ocean : * thus the Egyp- 
tians were wont to designate by the very same title the ocean, on which the 
Ark of Noah floated, and the Nile, which supported on its waters the ark 
of Osiris : ' thus also the Eridanus of the sphere, which by some was thought 
to be the Nile, was, as we may easily collect from the peculiar neighbour- 
hood in which it is placed, no other than the sea or the deluge : * and thus, 
to pass from profane to sacred, Jeremiah, when predicting the future state 
of Babylon in consequence of the manner in which it was taken by Cyrus, 
calls the Euphrates the sea. ' Accordingly, from Voorokeschfe arises that 
rain, which is appointed not only to fructify the earth, but likewise to drive 
away the evil demons that produce the deluge and to purify the world from 
corruption. 

VI. Thus I have argued, in favour of the genuine antiquity of at least 
the materials out of which the Zend-Avesta has been composed, from the 
total dissimilitude of the ideas, prevalent both in the history and in the 
prayers, to the simple nairative of Moses, on the one hand ; and from their 
perfect similitude to the old mythological notions of tlie universal pagan 
world, on the other hand. 

The points, which I wished to establish, were these : that the early history, 
contained in the present Zend-Avesta could neither be a mere transcript 
from the book of Genesis, nor a total or partial fabrication of modern times, 

* The Oxus or Gihon for instance, on which Darab is feigned to have been set afloat in a 
wooden arlt, like Osiris on the Nile. 

■^ ilxtavoio foawY. Hence our Milton has borrowed his ocean stream. 
' Diod. Bibl. Hist. lib. 1. p. 12. 

* Eratos. Catast. Eridanus. 

' Compare Jerem. li. 42. with Bp. Newton's Dissert, x. vol. i. p. 298, 309. 



THK ORIGIN or PAGAN IDOLATRY. 105 

whatever may be the age of the compilation in which it appears ; but that *^''*''' "'• 
the groundwork of this history, like the fables and traditions (for instance) 
collected by Tzetzes and Ovid, is an authentic fragment of veiy remote anti- 
quity. The Zend-Avesta therefore, in its present form, may be a compara- 
tively recent production : but internal evidence proves the genuineness of 
the materials out of which it has been compiled. This is sufficient for my 
argument, and all that I wish to insist upon. 

Now, from the examination to which the history and the prayers have been 
subjected, I will venture to avow my belief, that they can neither have been" 
the original arbitrary invention of a late writer, nor yet a garbled transcript 
from the Pentateuch ; though an acquaintance with the sacred volume may 
have produced a chronological regularity of arrangement. Whoever compiled 
the Zend-Avesta, the early history contained in it is' no modern figment. 

The minute accordance of its mythology %vith the ancient mythologies of 
other nations, more especially in those particulars where the accordance has 
very little the semblance of being industriously laboured or designed, shews, 
that, let who may be its author, he must either have written from old materials, 
or have been most profoundly skilled in the arcana of the pagan Mysteries. 
The theology, particularly in the doctrine of the reappearance of the great 
father, in the exhibiting of him under the symbol of a man-bull, in the describ- 
ing of him as being astronomically the Sun, and in the mystic intercommu- 
nion of the Ark and the IMoon ; the theology, in all tliese pointS; is undoubt- 
edly the same as the theology of Greece, Egypt, Hindostan, Palestine, and 
Britain; and, though (as I liave just stated) the author may have been enabled 
to reduce his story into a regular chronological form through his becoming 
acquainted with the writings of INIoses during or after the Babylonian captivity ; 
yet his mode of telling that story is not scriptural, but strictly pagan. 

Nor is this all : as the theological opinions, which pervade both the legend 
and the prayers, are precisely those opinions, which have prevailed from the 
remotest ages throughout the whole gentile world; so they correspond with 
and interpret the sculptured rock temples of Mithras, which are still in ex- 
istence, and which at this very hour bear testimony to the genuine antiquity 
of those materials out of which the Zend-Avesta has been composed. 
Thevenot has given a curious delineation of the carved front of one of these 
Pag. Idol. VOL. Ti. O 



106 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. sacred caverns; the imagery of which closely corresponds with the mythology 
of the Zend-Avesta. On the propitious sign of the rainbow is seated a winged 
Eros or Cupid, whom the ancient hierophants rightly deemed the oldest of 
the gods. On his left hand appears the Sun, with the flame of an altar 
rising towards it. On his right, kneels an adoring Magus. And, behind 
the votary, is seen a phallus or conical pillar surmounted by a bull's head. 
Beneath these are eighteen naked men : and the whole groupe is supported by 
two pillars, the capitals of which are each composed of the duplicated head 
of a steer. ' The head on the pillar certainly represents the tauric Mithras ; 
viewed, as the gi'eat father always was viewed, in the light of the chief gene- 
rative or regenerative power ; for Poiphyry tells us, that Mithras was depicted 
riding on the bull of Venus, who was the same as Isis, Astart^, or Mylitta ; 
that, like that bull, he %vas the lord of generation and the creator of the 
world ; that he was immediately connected with the mystic birth and egress 
of souls from the Moon, symbolized by a cow ; and that he was styled Bu- 
clopus or the stealtr of oxen, which name that writer seems to consider as 
equivalent to one who by stealth attends to generation.'' This tauric 
Mithras is declared to be the Sun:' and there was a notion, that he tripli- 
cated himself or produced a triple offspring; whence the Greeks denominated 
him Triplasius. But the man-bull Taschter is also said to be the Sun ; 
while, in his human character of the producer of the deluge, he is said to 
have been assisted by three inferior attendants. The solari-tauric Mithras 
therefore is evidently the solar man-bull Taschter; and the triplication of the 
one relates solely to the three attendants of the other. 

Such and so varied are the testimonies, which may be brought to the ge- 
nuine antiquity of the mythological system, taught in the early history of 
the Zend-Avesta. 

' See the print in Bryant's Anal. yol. ii. p. 426. 
" Porph.de ant. nymph, p. 260, 26l, 262, 265. 
^ Mi^as i iJAisf ffctfa Us^a-oiis. Hesych. Lex. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Pagan accounts of an universal deluge. 



We have observed, that pagan accounts of the creation generally contain 
some strong allusions to the deluge : in a similar manner we shall find, that 
pagan accounts of the deluge are frequently marked by references to the 
history of the creation. The cause of this apparent confusion is in both 
instances the same. 

Agreeably to the established doctrine of a succession of similar worlds, 
the creation of the antediluvian system was not esteemed a proper creation 
or a production of something out of nothing; but was considered only as a 
new organization of matter subsequent to a flood, which had destroyed a 
former world, and on the surface of which the great father floated in profound 
repose during the period that intervened between that world and its successor. 
And, analogously to such an idea, the reappearance of the face of the earth, 
when the deluge retired into the central abyss, was viewed as the creation of 
a new mundane system out of the fragments of a prior system ; the great 
father with his seven companions having again floated upon the face of the 
deep, during the appointed intermediate period, either on the lotos, or the 
sacred leaf, or the navicular sea-serpent, or the mystic ship. Hence, as the 
proper creation was believed to have been preceded by a flood, which de- 



lOS THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. stroyed a former world; and as our present sj-stem was really preceded by a 
flood, and was in some sort a new production out of preexisting materials : 
it is obvious, that, according to the philosophy of Paganism, there was no 
essential difference between the real creation of the world and its renovation 
after the deluge. Such being the case, that heathen cosmogonies and heathen 
accounts of the flood would be much intermingled together, is in fact nothing 
more than what might have been naturally anticipated. If however we make 
due allowances for this circumstance, we shall still find, that many of the 
more ancient nations have preserved almost literal accounts of an universal 
deluge, which correspond in a very wonderful manner with the history of it 
as detailed by Moses. 

I. I shall begin with that of the Chaldfeans or Babylonians, as we have it 
handed down to us, from the now lost history of Berosus, by Eusebius, 
Syncellus, Abydenus, and Josephus. 

Xisuthrus, or (as his name is sometimes written) Seisithrus, was, like 
Noah, the ninth in descent from the first-created man of the former mundane 
system. In his time happened the great deluge, the histori/ of' which is 
given in this manner. 

The god Cronus appeared to him in a vision ; and gave him notice, that, 
on thejifteenth day of the tnonth Desius, there zeould be a fiood, by xvhich 
all mankind would he destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to commit to 
writing a history of the beginning, procedure, and final conclusion, of all 
things, down to the present term ; and to bury these accounts securely in the 
city of the Sun at Sippara or Sisparnis. He then ordered him to build a 
vessel ; to take xvith him into it his friends and relations ; and to trust him- 
self fearlessly to the deep. The command was implicitly obeyed. Xisuthrus, 
having carried on board every thing necessary to support life, took in like- 
wise all kinds of animals, that either fy through the air or rove on the sur- 
face of the earth. He then asked the deity, whither he was to go ; and was 
answered, To the gods : upon zvhich he offered up a prayer for the good of 
mankind. Thus he obeyed the divine admo?iition. The vessel, zvhich he 
built, was five stadia in length, and tzvo in breadth. Into this he put every 
thifig, which he had got ready; and conveyed into it last of all his wife, 
his children, and his friends. After the flood had covered the earth, and 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATBr. 109 

xohen at length it began to abate, Xisuthrus sent out some birds from the *^"^''' •''• 
vessel; which, Jinding neither food 7ior place to rest their feet, returned to 
him again. After an interval of some days, he sent them forth a second 
time : and they now came back with their feet tinged with mud. A third 
time he made trial zvith them ; but they then returned to him no more : 
hence he formed a judgment, that the surface of the earth had appeared 
above the waters. He noxo therefore opened the vessel ; and found, upon 
looking out, that it was driven to the side of a mountain. Upon this, he 
immediately quitted it, attended by his wife, his children, and his pilot. ' 
First he paid his adoration to the earth : and then, having built an altar, 
he offered sacrifices to the gods. IVhen these things had been duly petf arm- 
ed, both Xisuthrus, and those who came out of the vessel with him, disap- 
peared. They who remained within, f tiding that their late companions did 
not return, now quitted the ship with many lamentations, and called inces- 
santly on the name of Xisuthrus. Him however they saw no more : but 
they distinguished his voice in the air, and could hear him admonish them to 
pay due regard to the gods. He likexeise informed them, that on account of 
his piety, he was translated to live with the gods; and that his wife, and his 
children, and his pilot, had obtained the same hoyiour. To this he added, 
that he xvould have them make the best of their xvay to Babylonia, and search 
at Sipparafor the writings which were to be made known to all mankind. 
The place, where these things happetied, xvas in Armenia. The remainder, 
having heard his words, offered sacrifices to the gods; and, taking a circuit, 
Jouj'tieyed towai^ds Babylonia. Berosus remarks, that the remains of the 
vessel were to be seen in his time upon one of the Corey r^an or Cordyean 
mountains in Armenia ; and that people were wont to scrape off the bitumen 
xcith xvhich it had been outwardly coated, and to use it by xcay of an alexi- 

' Mr. Bryant remarks, that this is scarceli/ a true account. Berosus would hardly suppose 
a pilot (xv^i^Yijrrjs ), where a vessel was totally shut up, and confessedly driven at the will of 
the winds and waves. I can easily imagine, that a Grecian interpreter would run into the 
mistake, when he was adu^iting the history to his own taste. Thus, when the history of the 
Ark was transmuted into the kgcnd of the Argo, Tiphys was made its pilot. Hyg. Fab. 14. 
He Sfcnis to be the same person as Canobus, whom the Greeks fancied to bt the pilot of 
RIcnelaus, and whose star on the sphere is placed in the rudder of the Argo. 



110 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. pharmic and amulet. In this manner, they returned to Babylon ; and, 
having found the writings at Sippara, they began to build cities and to erect 
temples. Thus was Babylon inhabited again. ' 

II. The Greek account of the deluge, which may also be esteemed the 
Syrian, is no less explicit, as it stands preserved by Lucian, than that of 
the Babylonians. 

IViis generation and the present race of men, says he, were not the first : 
for all those of that former generation perished. But these are of a 
second race ; which increased from a single person, named Deucalion, to its 
present multitude. Concerning those men they relate the following tale. 
Being of a violent and ferocious temper, they were guilty of every sort of 
lawlessness. They neither regarded the obligatioti of oaths, nor the rights 
of hospitality, nor the prayers of the suppliant : wherefore a great cala- 
mity befell them. The earth suddenly poured forth a vast body of water ; 
heavy torrents of rain descended ; the rivers overflowed their banks ; and 
the sea arose above its ordinary level: until the whole world was inundated, 
and all that zvere in it perished. In the midst of the general destruction, 
Deucalion alone was left to another generation, on account of his extraor- 
dinary wisdom and piety. Now his preservation zvas thus effected. He 
caused his sons and their wives to enter into a large ark, which he had pro- 
vided ; and afterwards xvent into it himself. But, while he was embarking, 
swine, and ho7'ses, and lions, and sei'pents, and all other animals that live 
upon the face of the earth, came to him in pairs. These he took in with 
him: and they injured him not ; but, on the contrary, the greatest harmony 
subsisted betxveen them through the irifiuence of the deity. Thus they all 
sailed together in one ark, so long as the waters prevailed. Such is the 
narrative of the Greeks : but the Syrians of HierapoUs add to it a won- 
derful account of the zvhole deluge being swallowed up by a vast chasm in 
their country. Deucalion, they say, xvhen all these matters had taktn place, 
erected altars, and built a temple to Juno over the chasm. I myself saw 
this chasm ; and, at that time, it was but a small aperture beneath the 

' Syncell. Chronog. p. 30. Abyd. apud Euseb. Chrori. p. S. Joseph. Ant. Jud. lib. i. 
c. 3. ^ 6. 



THE ORIGIK OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. Ill 

temple : whether it was once larger, and afterwards decreased to its present chap. iv. 
size, I shall not pretend to say ; what I at least saw xvas but a small orifice. 
Of the truth hozvever of this account they adduce the following proof. 
Twice in each year water is brought from the sea to the temple : and not 
only the priests, but all Syria and Arabia, nay even many persons from 
beyond the Euphrates, take the trouble of going down to the sea ; whence 
they all binng a certain quantity of water. This, as they convey it, they 
frst pour out upon the floor of the temple. From the floor it finds its way 
to the chasm : and the chasm, small as it nozv is, swalloxvs up without diffi- 
culty a vast quantity of water. Respecting the ceremony they have an 
ancient tradition, that it was instituted by Deucalion himself, in memory at 
once of his calamity and his deliverance. ' 

J. In the preceding narrative Lucian does not introduce the emission of 
the dove; but the defect is amply supplied by Plutarch. That writer, in 
his treatise on the sagacity of animals, informs us, that it xcas maintained 
by mythologisfs, that Deucalion sent a dove out of the ark ; zvhich, when it 
returned to him, shewed that the storm was not yet abated; but, when he 
saw it no more, he concluded that the sky was become serene again. ' How 
strong indeed traditions of this nature were in Syria, remarkably appears 
from a medal struck at Apamea, in the immediate neighbourhood of Hiera- 
polis, during the reign of Philip the elder. Upon the reverse of it is repre- 
sented a kind of square chest floating upon the waters. Out of the chest a 
man and a woman are advancing upon dry land, while two other persons re- 
main within. Above it flutters a dove, bearing an olive branch : and another 
bird, probably designed for a raven, is perched upon its roof. In one of 
Ihc pannels of the chest appears the word Noe in Greek characters. ' 

2. The appulse of Deucalion is variously related agreeably to the humour 
of local appropriation, wliich fixed ^he mountain of the Ark in so many dif- 
ferent regions. 

' Lucian do dea Syra. 

'^ Plutarch, de solert. animal, p. 96S. 

' See the print in Bryant's Anal. vol. ii. p. 230. At the end of this great work is a tract 
expressly on the subject in answer to Mr, Harrington, Mr. Combe, and others, who had con- 
troverted the opinion of Mr. Bryant, 



BOOK III. 



112 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

The Syrians brought him to shore in the neighbourhood of Hierapolis; 
probably upon tliat range of hills, which, Uke the mountainous tract in the 
eastern part of Armenia, bore the name of Taui'us or Tabris, as being the 
supposed resting place of the ship Baris: Hyginus represents mount Etna 
in Sicily as being the scene of his debarkation:' Servius makes him land 
on mount Athos : ' and Apollodorus and Ovid concur in assigning that honour 
to Parnassus. ' Apollodorus however describes the deluge as being partial 
and limited to Greece ; but in all the main particulars he agrees with the 
account detailed by Lucian. Deucalion builds a large ark of wood; and, 
after placing in it every thing necessary for life, he embarks himself along 
with his wife Pyrrha. The deluge then commences, and covers the greatest 
part of Greece; insomuch that all perish except a few, who escape to the 
tops of the highest mountains. The ark in due time rests on mount Parnas- 
sus; and Deucalion, quitting it, builds an altar to Jupiter the deliverer. 
Ovid, on the contrary, speaks of the deluge as being universal : but he de- 
parts from the true history, by making Deucalion and Pyrrha escape only in 
a small bark. Yet he accurately adheres to it in another particular ; exhibit- 
ing Deucalion, like Noah, as a man of eminent piety and justice. 

3. The name of Deucalion seems to have been well known to the Hindoos. 
In the Puranas, he is called Cala-Yavana ; but, in the vulgar dialects, and 
in common conversation, Cali/un and Caljun. His acknowledged divine 
extraction entitled him to the epithet of Dcva or Deo : but it appears to 
have been vvithheld from him in India on account of his presuming to oppose 
Crishna, though it was duly applied to him iq Greece; for Deucalion is what 
a Hindoo would write Deva-Cala-Yavana, or in the common dialect Deo- 
Calyun. The Syrians and the Hellenes certainly received the name from 
the Chasas or Indo-Scythee ; for Lucian expressly calls Deucalion a Scy- 
thian : and it was doubtless equally well known to the Chasas of all the three 
Caucasi. The Hindoos however do not ascribe to him any escape from a 
deluge of water : but they have a confused legend of his perishing by a flood 

" Hyg. Fab. 152, 153. 

* Serv. in Virg. Eclog. vi. vcr. 41. 

^ Apollod. Bibl. lib. 1. c. 7. § 2. Ovid Metam. lib. 1. ver. 317. 



THE ORIGIN OI' PAGAN IDOLATRY. 113 

of fire. This has arisen from the notion, that the world, in the course of chap. iv. 
its many revolutions, was to be destroyed sometimes by an inundation of the 
one element, and sometimes by an inundation of the other. Either of these 
catastrophes is in the Sanscrit called Pralayn. ' 

III. But, though the Hindoos do not speak of the preservation of their 
Deucalion from the waters of the deluge, they have some most remarkable 
traditions of that great event both direct and indirect, blended however with 
much of the wild imagery of mythologic fiction. 

1. The following narrative respecting Menu-Satyavrata, who is esteemed 
the seventh manifestation of the great father from Menu-Swayambhuva, was 
literally translated by Sir William Jones from the Bhagavat; and it consti- 
tutes the subject of the first Purana, entitled that of the IMatsya or fish. 

Desiring the p7'eservation of herds and of Brahmens, of genii and of 
virtuous men, of the Vedas of laxv and of precious things, the lord of the 
universe assumes many bodily shapes : but, though he pervades, like the air, 
a variety of beings ; yet he is himself unvaried, since he has no quality 
subject to change. At the close of the last Culpa, there was a general des- 
truction occasioned by the sleep of Brahma ; whence his creatures in different 
worlds were drowned in a vast ocean. Brahma being inclined to slumber, 
desiring repose after a lapse of ages, the strong demon Hayagriva came 
near him, and stole the Vedas which had f owed from his lips. JPlien Heri, 
the preserver of the universe, discovered this deed of the prince of Danavas, 
he took the shape of a minute fish called Saphari. A holy king, named Sa- 
tyavrata, then reigned, a servant of the spirit which moved on the waves, 
and so devout that water was his only sustenance. He was the child of the 
Sun ; and, in the present Calpa, is invested by Narayan in the office of 
Menu, by the name of Sraddadeva or the god of obsequies. One day, as 
he zvas making a libation in the river Critamala, and held water in the palm 
of his hand, he perceived a small fsh moving in it. The king of Dr'avira 
immediately dropped the fsh into the river together with the water which he 
had taken Jrom it, when the Saphari thus pathetically addressed the bene- 
volent monarch : How canst thou, O king, who shewest affection to the op- 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 496. 
Pag. Idol. VOL. II. P 



HOOK III. 



114 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

pressed, leave me in this river water, tvhere I am too weak to resist the 
monsters of the stream, who Jill me with dread ? He, not knowing who had 
assumed the fdrtn of ajish, applied his mind to the preservation of the Sap- 
hari, hath from good natitre and from regard to his own soul; and, having 
heard its very suppliant address, he kindly placed it under his protection in a 
small vase full of water. But in a single night its bulk was so increased, 
that it could not he contained in the jar ; and it thus again addressed the 
illustrious prince : I am not pleased with living miserably in this little vase ; 
make me a large rnansion, where I may dzvcll in comfort. The king, remov- 
ing it thence, placed it in the water of a cistern ; but it grew three cubits 
in less thanffty minutes, and said : O king, it pleases me not to stay vainly 
in this narrow cistern ; since thou hast granted me an asylum, give me a 
spacious habitation. He then removed it, and placed it in a pool; zvhere, 
having ample space around its body, it became a fish of considerable size. 
This abode, O king, is not convenient for me, who must szvim at large in 
the routers : exert thyself for my safety, and remove me to a deep lake. 
Thus addressed, the pious monarch threw the suppliant into a lake ; and, 
when it grew of equal hulk xvith that piece of water, he cast the vastfsh 
into the sea. JVhen the fish zvas throzvn into the waves, lie thus again 
spoke to Satyavrata : Here the horned sharks, and other monsters of great 
strength, will devour me ; thou shouldst not, O valiant man, leave me in this 
ocean. Thus repeatedly deluded by thefsh icho had addressed him with gentle 
words, the king said : IF ho art thou, that bcguilest me i?z that assumed 
.ihape ? Never before have I seen or heard of so prodigious an inhabitant 
of the zvaters ; xvho, like thee, hast filed up in a single day a lake of a hun- 
dred leagues in circumference. Surely thou art Bhaghvat, zeho appearest 
before me ; the great Heri, whose dwelling was on the waves, and who now 
in compassion to thy servants bearest the form of the natives of the deep. 
Salutation and praise to thee, O first male; the lord of creation, of preser- 
vation, of destruction! Thou art the highest object, O supreme ruler, of 
us thy adorers who piously seek thee. All thy delusive descents in this world 
give existence to various beings : yet I am anxious to knozo for what cause 
that shape has been assumed by thee. Let me not, O lotos-eyed, approach 
in vain the feet of a deity, whose perfect benevolence has been extended to all ; 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATKV. 115 

when thou hast shewn, to our amazenmit, the appearance of other bodies, not *■'"*'*' '' ' 
in reality existing but successively exhibited. The lord of the Universe, 
loving the pious man who thus implored him, and intending to presence him 
from the sea of destruction caused by the depravity of the age, thus told him 
how he was to act. In seven days from the pi'esent time, O thou tamer oj 
enemies, the three worlds will be plunged in an ocean of death ; but, in the 
midst of the destroying waters, a large vessel, sent by me for thy use, shall 
stand be/ore thee. Then shall thou take all medicinal herbs, all the variety 
of seeds ; and, accompanied by seven saints, encircled by pairs of all brute 
animals, thou shalt enter the spacious ark, and continue in it, secure from 
the flood, on one immense ocean, without light, except the radiance of thy 
holy companions. JVhen the ship shall be agitated by an impetuous wind, 
thou shalt fasten it xvith a large sea-serpent on my horn ; for I will be near 
thee, drav'ing the vessel with thee and thy attendants. I will retnain on the 
ocean, O chief of men, until a night of Brahma shall be completely ended. 
Thou shalt then know my true greatness, rightly named the supreme godhead. 
By my favour all thy questions shall be answered, and thy mind abundantly 
instructed. Heri, having thus directed the tiionarch, disappeared; and 
■Satyavrata humbly waited for the time, which the ruler of our senses had 
appointed. The pious king, having scattered towards the east the pointed 
blades of the grass darbha, and turning li is face towards the north, sat me- 
ditating on the feet of the god who had borne the form of a fish. The 
sea, overwhelming its shores, deluged the zvhole earth ; and it was soon per- 
ceived to be augmented by shoxversfrom immense clouds. He, still ineditating 
on the command of Bhagavat, saw the vessel advancing ; and entered it with 
the chiefs of Brahmens, hating carried into it the medicinal creepers ami 
conformed to the directions of Heri. The saints thus addressed him : O 
king, meditate on Cesava, who zvill surely deliver us from this danger, and 
grant us prosperity. The god, being invoked by the monarch, appeared again 
distinctly on the vast ocean in the form of a fish, blazing like gold, extending 
a million of leagues, with one stupendous horn : on which the king, as he 
had been before commanded by Heri, tied the ship xvith a cable made of a vast 
serpent ; and, happy in his preservation, stood praising the destroyer of 
Madhu. When the monarch had fnished his hymn, the primeval male 



116 THE OllTGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

"'• Bhagavat, ivho watched for his safety on the great expanse of water, spoke 
aloud to his aun divine essence, pronouncing a sacred Parana, which con- 
tained the rules of the Sanchya philosophy : but it was an infinite mystery to 
be concealed within the breast of Satyavrata ; who, sitting in the vessel with 
the saints, heard the principle of the soul, the eternal being, proclaimed by 
the preserving power. Then Heri, rising together with Brahma from the 
destructive deluge which was abated, slew the demon Hayagriva, and recovered 
the sacred books. Satyavrata, instructed in all divine and human knowledge, 
was appointed in the present Culpa, by the favour of Vishnou, the seventh 
Menu, surnamed Vaivaswata : but the appearance of a horned fsh to the 
religious monarch was Maya or delusion ; and he, who shall devoutly hear 
this important allegorical narrative, will be delivered from the bondage of 
sin.* 

Laboriously to particularize the points, in which this curious tradition 
agrees with the Mosaical narrative, would be alike useless and impertinent : 
it must be obvious to every one, that the history contained in each is funda- 
mentally the same, though severally told in a somewhat different manner. 
The account given by Moses is plain, literal, and unambiguous: that given 
in the first Indian Purana, though literal and unequivocal to a considerable 
degree, is yet mingled with hieroglyphical allegory. It is remarkable 
enough, that towards the close of the legend this is expressly avowed : the 
whole is termed an allegorical narrative, and the appearance of the horned 
fish is peculiarly specified as being altogether delusion. 

( I .) The fish was a sacred symbol : consequently, its introduction into the 
story being figurative, it was therefore a fantastic delusion, not to be un- 
derstood l)y the votary as a naked matter of fact, but to be received agreea- 
bly to the well-known rules of hieroglyphical interpretation. In the Hindoo 
delineation of this Avatar, Vishnou does not appear simply as a fish, but as 
a man issuing out of the mouth of a fish. ' Such was the form of the Philis- 
tfean Dugon : such also was the form of the Babylonian Cannes or Odacon : 
and such, allowing for the diflference of sex, was nearly the form of the 

• Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 230—234. 

* See the print in Maurice's Hist, of Hind. vol. i. p. 507. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 117 

Syrian goddess, who was the same as the marine Venus or Derceto or Atar- *^'*'' ■*• 
gatis. The male deity represented Noah : tlie female deity, his allegorical 
consort the Ark. Sometimes the masculine divinity appeared attached to 
the fish, and sometimes proceeding out ot it. The latter mode of delinea- 
tion probably constituted the genuine hieroglyphic : and it was used to depict 
Noah issuing from the Ark, which was .symbolized not unaptly by a huge 
sea-fish. Yet the former ought not to be too hastily rejected as a mere 
corruption : for, agreeably to the constant system of the old mvthologists, 
if the great mother were typified by a mermaid, the great father would of 
course be typified by a merman. At any rate, each figure was certainly used 
by the symbolizing pagans : and, how we are to understand the hieroglyphic 
of a man issuing out of the mouth of a fish, may be collected very unequi- 
vocally from the name bestowed upon a supposed ancient king, whose tomb 
is shewn at Naulakhi in Cabul. The Buddhists say, that he is Buddhar 
Narayana or Buddha dwelling in the waters : and the Hindoos, w-ho live in 
that country, call him Machodar-Nath or the sovereign prince in the belly 
of thejish. Buddha however is the same person as Menu : and the region, 
where his tomb is shewn, is the precise tract of land, to which the Hindoos 
and the Chasas unite in ascribing the appulse of the Ark. That very Menu 
therefore, who is literally said to have been preserved in an ark and who is 
emphatically described as the dweller in the waters, is figuratively spoken of 
as being the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish. Hence it is sufficiently 
obvious, that the belly of the fish and the interior of the Ark mean the same 
thing.' 

(2.) These remarks will serve to explain a peculiarity in the character of 
the oreat father, which seems at first to involve a contradiction. 

In the preceding legend, Vishnou appears distinct from Menu, and per- 
sonates the Supreme Being: yet, single, he is certainly Noah or Menu him- 
self; as one of a triad of gods springing from a fourth still older deity, he is a 
son of Noah ; and, in his astronomical character, as the Hindoos themselves 
assure us, he is the Sun.* For Vishnou, as is evident from the legend, is 
the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish; which nevertheless is the precise 

' Asiat. Res. vol, vi. p. 479, 480. * Asiat. Res. vol. iii, p. 144. vol. v. p. 254. 



118 THE ORIGIN OI' PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

nooK m. character, that belongs to Menu-Satyavrata, the ancient prince who is feigned 
to have been buried at Naulakhi : and Buddha, who is also the sovereign 
prince in the belly of the fish, is at once an allowed incarnation of Vishnou 
and the very same person as the diluvian Menu. 

This intermixture, which is openly acknowledged in the mythology of 
Hindostan and which may be readily traced in the similar systems of other 
nations, was in fact no more than the natural consequence of the deification 
of mortals. When such were raised to the rank of gods by the blind, vene- 
ration of their posterity, consistency required, that the actions and attributes 
of the Supreme Being should be ascribed to them; whence some have 
groundlessly imagined, that the pagans really worshipped the true God; 
but, if we look more closely into the matter, we shall soon perceive, that 
other actions and a certain distinct character of their own plainly enough 
point out, what these pretended deities properly were. The confusion in 
question is noticed by IVIr. Wilford, so far as the Hindoo mythology is con- 
cerned. Satyavrata, considered as Vaivaswata, is, according to the Pura- 
nas, an incarnation of that identical Vishnou, who in the form of a fish 
preserves him fi-om the calamity of the deluge ; while, as Satyavrata, he is 
thought to be mysteriously distinct from him : and, in a similar manner, the 
Trimurti is supposed to be incarnate in the triple offspring of every Menu, 
as well as in the person of every Menu himself, who successively appears at 
the commencement of each new world.' This distinction indeed is not 
perfectly in point, because we are assured that Vishnou as well as the other 
persons of the Trimurti is astronomically the Sun : yet, since the attributes 
of the Supreme Being are ascribed to him, while he ultimately resolves him- 
self into the great father who with seven companions is preserved in an Ark 
during the prevalence of an universal deluge; we may easily perceive what 
character the Gentiles worshipped in the place of the true God, and may 
thence learn the strict propriety of St. Paul's declaration that they were really 
no better than atheists.* It is worthy of observation, that, in the Chaldee 
account of the deluge, Cronus sustains the very same part in reference to 
Xisuthrus, that Vishnou does in reference to Satyavrata : yet fundamentally 

' Asiat. Rqs. vol. vi. p. 479» ' AS«o» iv tui x«»-/a^. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 119 

Cronus was Xisuthrus himself; for he was the parent of three sons among *'"*''• "* 
whom he divided the whole world, and every part of his history proves hira 
to be the great father or Adam reappearing in Noah. 

(3.) The deluge is said to have continued during what is called a night of 
Brahma, and the sleep of that god is made exactly commensurate with the 
duration of the flood : for he awakes at the end of it ; and, rising with Vishnou 
from the retiring waters, slays the demon Hayagriva, and recovers the sacred 
books. 

This sleep of Brahma, who is acknowledged ultimately to identify himself 
with Vishnou and Menu, is the same as the sleep or death celebrated in the 
Mysteries. It means the allegorical sleep or death of the great father within 
the Ark, during the period which intervened between two worlds : and its 
length is represented as being equal to a single night (a night indeed of 
Brahma); because in the eastern phraseology a day stood for a year, and the 
duration of Noah's gloomy confinement Mas limited to that space of time. 
It is also the same as Vishnou's fabled sleep of a millenary on the serpent 
Ananta; which is coiled up in the form of a boat, and which thus supporting 
the god floats upon the surface of the ocean : for a day, a year, and a mille- 
nary, Mere used as convertible terms. 

(4.) We are told, that Menu-Satyavrata was constituted the god of obse- 
quies ; that is to say, he was made the presiding deity of the pagan Inferum. 

This declaration is very remarkable; because it clearly serves to point out 
what we are to understand by the mythological Hades. The hero-god of the 
Ark, we find, is avowedly the chief divinity of the infernal regions : and he 
was so constituted at the time of the deluge. Hence, as I have already 
siiewn, the Hades of the Cientiles was the womb of the great mother: and 
the death, or sleep, or descent, or disappearance, of its principal deity 
equally related to the allegorical sleep or death of Noah on tlie surface of 
the ocean within iiis reputed gi-avc or coffin the Ark. On this account the 
ancient Mysteries were invariably funereal. They described first the death 
of some person, and his inclosure within an ark which was deemed his coflin ; 
and aftervN ards they celebrated his revival and egress. The phraseology was 
occasionally varied, but the object was still the same. ' Tims the identical 

• Vide intra book v. c.G. § III. 2. ^'1I. 



Ii20 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

person, who in a state of death or death-Uke sleep was said to have been shut 
up in an ark and set afloat upon the waters, was likewise feigned to have 
vanished or to have descended into the infernal regions: and he, who was 
supposed to have been wonderfully restored to life and to have quitted the 
ark within which he had been confined, was also thought to have reappeared 
or to have returned from the reahns of Hades. The entrance therefore into 
Hades and into the Ark evidently means the same thing : and he, who was 
preserved at the time of the general deluge, was constituted the god of obse- 
quies on account of his fabled descent into Inferum. It was in reference to 
this state of gloom and death, that the Mysteries were always celebrated in 
the night. Thus the Orphic poet speaks of the Orgies of Bacchus or Dio- 
Nus as being certain ineffable oracles of the night, and of the Mysteries of 
Osiris as being the mournful solemnization of his funeral.' The night of 
Bacchus or Bromius is the night of Brahma ; the birth of Bacchus from tlie 
floating egg is the birth of Brahma from the floating egg ; and the exposure 
of Bacchus in an ark on the surface of the ocean is equivalent to the mystic 
floating of Brahma during the prevalence of the deluge in the cup of the 
aquatic lotos. In a similar manner, the Egyptian god of obsequies, who is 
indifferently said to have been slain by the sea, to have descended into Hades, 
and to have been shut up in an ark, is evidently the same character as that 
Menu-Satyavrata ; who is literally declared to have been saved in an ark at 
the time of the deluge, and who is allegorically feigned to have been consti- 
tuted the god of obsequies or the regent of Hades. 

(5.) As for the demon Hayagriva, he must doubtless be identified with 
the Typhon of Egypt, the Python of Greece, and the Ahriman of Persia : 
that is to say, he is the evil piinciple, considered as producing the deluge 
and as finally overcome by the great father when the waters retired into the 
central abyss. 

2. Such is the history, which seems to be veiled under the first of the 
Indian Avatars : and very nearly allied to it is the second. 

When Adima or Menu-Swayambhuva was newly born, Brahma ordered 
him to stock the xvorld with creatures of' his own species. Menu, submissively 

■ Orph. Argon, ver. 28, 33. 



THE OHIGiy OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 121 

iiitreatcd a place convenientfor the purpose of residing aytdmidtiplijing his hind, *^*'' "* 
as at that time the zvhole surface of tlie earth was covered xvitli water: 
for tlie (lemon Hiiinacheren had rolled it up into a shapeless mass, and had 
carried it down to the abyss. Brahma resumed his posture of contemplation 
and penance, to obtain the means of raising up the earth ; and poured forth 
the folio-wing prayer to the almighty, in profound humility of soul. O 
Bhagavat! since thou broughtest me from non-entity into existence for a 
particular purpose, accomplish that purpose by thy benevolence! In this 
situation, by the power of god, there issued from the essence of Brahina a 
being shaped like a boar, white and exceedingly sinalL This being, in the 
space of one hour, grew to the size of an elephant of the largest magnitude, 
and remained in the air. Brahma was astonished on beholding this figure ; 
end discovered by the force of internal penetration, that it could be nothing 
but the power of the omnipotent, zvhicli had assumed a body and become 
visible. lie now felt that god is all, and that all w fvm him and in him ; 
and he said to Mareechee and his sons ;' A wonderful animal has emanated 
from my essence ; at first of the smallest size, it has in one hour increased to 
this enormous bulk, and without doubt it is a portion of the almighty power. 
They were engaged in this conversation, when that Vara, or boarform, 
suddenly uttered a sound like the loudest thunder, and the echo reverberated 
and shook all the quarters of the universe : but still, under this dreadful 
awe of heaven, a certain xvonderful divine co?fidence secretly animated the 
hearts of Brahma, Mareechee, and the other genii ; who immediately began 
praises and thanksgivings. The Fara figure, hearing the power of the 
Vedas and Mantras from their mouths, again made a loud noise, and became 
a dreadful spectacle. Shaking the fullfiowing mane which hung down his 
neck on both sides, and erecting the humid hairs of his body, he proudly dis- 
played his two most exceedingly zvhite tusks ; then, rolling around his a ine- 
coloured eyes and erecting his tail, he descended from the region of the air, 
and plunged headforemost into the zoater. The whole bodxj of water xcas 
convulsed by the motion, and began to rise in zvaves ; zthile the guardian spirit 
of the sea, being tcrr'ficd, began to tremble for his domain and to cry out for 

' .Altenrl.iiit genii. 

Pag. Idol. vol.. n. Q 



noox in. 



122 THE OftlGIK OF tAGAN iDOLATRr. 

mercy. At this the devotees and Rishis again commenced their praises in 
honour of Bhagavaf, who by one glance of his eye illumined the whole world 
&f water. As the power of the omnipotent had assumed the body of Vara, 
on that account he coidescended to use the particular instinct of that animal ; 
and began to smell about, that he might discover the place where the earth was 
submerged. At length, having divided the water and ai'riving at the bottonit^ 
he saw the earth lying a mighty and barren stratum. Then he slew 
the demon Hirinacheren, took up the ponderous globe freed from the water, 
and raised it high on his tusk. One would say, that it was a beautiful lotos 
blossoming on the tip of his tusk, hi a moment, xvith one leap coming to 
the surface, by the all-directiijg poxver .of the otnnipotent creator, he spread 
it, like a carpet, on the face of the water, and then vanished from, the sight 
of Brahnia. Brahma, contemplating the whole earth, performed due reve- 
rence to Bhagavat; and, rejoicing exceedingly, began the means of peopling 
the renovated world. Menu and Satarupa then, having again received 
Brahma's order to increase and multiply their kind, began t9 people the 
world, by means of the bond of marriage, in the kingdom of Brahma- Verte- 
Vreete.^ They had two sons, Preeve-Veete and Outanabada, exclusive of a 
third named Daksha who was slain by liis brother at a sacrifice ; and three 
daughters, Akootee, Dcivehoote, and Presootee. Akoote was married to 
Roochee ; Deivehoote, to Cur dam ; and Presootee, to Daksha:* and by 
them and their posterity, in succeeding ages, the whole world was peopled.^ 

(1.) Mr. Halhed thinks, that this Avatar relates to the creation ; but it 
is said to be more generally considered by Hindoo historians as allusive to 
the deluge : and witli them Sir William Jones inclines to agree.* The fact 
is, that both opinions are right : for it has a reference at once to the deluge 
and to the creation. 

Menu-Swayambhuva is certainly Adam: and he is described as preceding 
by several generations Menu-Satyavrata, who as certainly is Noah. Novv: 
the present Avatar has for its hero \X\e former Menu j as such therefore it 

' Pyag, now caUed- Allahabad. 

* That is to say, to their three brothers under different names. 

* Purana apud Maur. Hist, of Hind, vol, i, p. 409 — -ill. and Asiat. Res. vol, i. p. 154. 

* Waur. Hist, of Hind, vol, i. p. 57.5, 



THE OHIGIX OP PAGAN IDOLATRY, 125 

must relate to the creation: yet it is placed successively to the fish Avatar, 
of which the latter Menu is the hero ; as such therefore it must relate also to 
the deluge. Agreeably to this singular arrangement, by which, in the enu- 
meration of the Avatars, the history of the seventh Menu or Noah is given 
p7'evious to that of the Jirst Menu or Adam, the legend now before us exhi- 
bits the two properly distinct accounts of the creation and tlie flood curiously 
and intimately blended together. The reason of such a niixture is that, 
which has already been assigned : in the lower sense of renovation, the world 
•was supposed to have been equally created in the days both of Adam and 
Noah ; and the mundane systems, over which each of those patriarchs seve- 
rally presided, were alike believed to have been preceded by an universal 
delucre, and to have commenced by a precisely similar process and with 
precisely similar events. Thus Swayambhuva and Satarupa, or Adima and 
Iva, are clearly the Adam and Eve of Scripture : and the emerging of the 
earth from the water, when considered with reference to them, must mean 
the rising of the solid dry land out of the confused chaotic mucilage. Yet, 
since we find the very Avatar, which treats of these matters, placed chrono- 
logically subsequent to the first Avatar, which almost literally details the his- 
tory of the deluge in the time of the seventh Menu or Noah ; the emerging 
of the earth from the inundation which covered it must, in this case, be the 
emerging of the dry land from the waters of the Noetic flood : for, if the 
first Avatar describe the deluge itself, the second, which describes an emerg- 
ing of the earth from a superfused inundation, must, when thus considered, 
exhibit to us a circumstance which immediately succeeded the deluge. 

(2.) With this conclusion a large portion of the legend will be found to 
agree, both as it has already been detailed, and as it is still ordinarily repre- 
sented in paintings. The history of the present Avatar still appears depicted 
on the walls of some of the old Pagodas, Vishnou is there described as a 
man, having four arms and the head of a boar. His hands hold a sword, a 
sea-shell, the sacred book of the antediluvian writings, and the mystic ring. 
His feet trample on the gigantic demon-prince Hirinacheren, who floats ex- 
tended many a rood in the midst of the waters. His tusks support the cres- 
cent or lunar boat: and, within the crescent thus supported, is the globe of 
the Earth j which characteristically displays buildings, mountains, and trees. 



CU\P. 11, 



iS4 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN' IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. Beneath, the full IMoon appears in the water, attached to a pole which 
Hirinacheren holds in his hand. ' 

The whole of this imagery is diluvian : and it is applicable to the era of the 
creation no further, than as the proper creation was itself believed to have 
been preceded by a flood and a yet prior world. The demon Hirinacheren, 
like the kindred demon hayagriva in the JSfatsya Avatar, is a personification 
of the deluge considered as the work of the evil principle. His canying the 
Earth therefore down to the bottom of the abyss is nothing more than its sub- 
mersion beneath the flood : and the death of the monster by which Vishnou 
effects its recovery, is the allegorical victory obtained over the deluge, when 
its waters Mere constrained to retire and when the surface of the globe again 
became visible. In a similar manner, th eMoon, which Hirinacheren holds 
in his hand while both himself and the planet are floating on the waves, is 
the astronomical symbol of the Ark : and it was this method of representing 
that vessel, which produced all the various strange fables respecting the re- 
gent of the night that occur so frequently in ancient mythology. One of 
these legends is curiously exemplified in the upper part of the painting. 
The Earth within the navicular lunette, which Vishnou supports upon his 
tusks, is but a graphical representation of a doctrine common alike toEgypt 
and to Hindustan, that the Moon was the mother of the JVorld : and the 
ineaning of tlie doctrine is, that the regenerated Universe was produced 
from the womb of the arkitc Ship. 

I i. I shall now proceed to a consideration of the Courma or Tortoise 
Avatur, which, like tiie two preceding ones, seems to me, as it did to Sir 
^V'illiam Jones and JNIr. Maurice,, plainly to relate to the deluge, though 
mixed with allusions to the creation. 

The Soars or good genii, being assembled in solemn consultation upon the 
sparkling summit of the great golden mountain Meru or Sommeir, icere medi- 
tating the discovery of the Amrita or water of immortality. The sea was 
to be deeply agitated by the impetuous rotation of tite mountain Mandar: 
but, as the united bands of Dewtahs wer-j unable to remove this mountain, they 
U'ent before Vishnou zcho zvas sitting with Brahma, and addressed them in 

' Sec the print of this Avatar in Maur. Hist, of Hind. vol. i. p. 575» 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 125 

these words. Exert, sovereign beings, your most superior wisdom to remove chap. iv. 
the mountain Mandar, and employ your utmost poxver for our good. Vishnou 
and Brahma having replied, It shall be done according to your wish, he 
with the lotos eye directed the king of serpents to appear. Jiwnta arose, 
andzvas instructed in that work by Brahvia, and commanded by Narat/an' 
to perform it. Then Ananta, by hispozver, took up that king of mountains, 
together zoith all its forests and every inhabitant thereof; and the Soors 
accompanied him into the presence of the Ocean, whom they addressed, say- 
ing, JFe zvill stir up thy waters to obtain the Amreeta. And the lord of the 
•waters replied. Let me aUo have a share, seeing I am to bear the violent 
agitations that zvill be caused by the zvhirling of the ?nountain. The Sooi's 
and Assoors spake unto Courma-Rajah, the king of the tortoises, upon the 
strand of the ocean, and said ; My I'rd is able to he the supporter of this 
mountain. 1 he tortoise replied. Be it so : and it zvas placed upon his back. 
So the mountain being set upon the back of the tortoise, Eendra began to 
whirl it about as it zvere a machine. The mountain Mandar served as a churns 
and the serpent Vasookee for the rope : and thus, in J'ormer days, did the 
Dezctahs, the Assoors, and the Danoos, begin to stir up the xcatcrs of the 
ocean for the discovery of the Amrita. The mighty Assoo?^s zvere employed 
on the side of the serpent's head, zohilst all the Soors assembled about his tail. 
Ananta, that sovereign Dezo, stood near Narayan. Thty nozv pull forth 
the serpent's head repeatedly, and as ojten let it go: while there issued J'rom 
his mouth, thus violently diazcn to and fro by the Soors and Assoors, a conti- 
}u<al stream of f re and smoke and Ziind ; zvhich ascending in thick clouds 
replete zvith lightning, it began to rain dozvn upon the heavenly bands who 
were already fatigued zvith their labour, whilst a shoiccr of flowers zvas 
shaken from the top of the mountain, covering the heads oj all, both Soors 
and Assoors. In the mean time, the roaring of the ocean, whilst violently 
agitated znth the whirling (f the mountain Mandar by the Soors and 
Aisoors, zms like the bellozving of a mighty cloud. Thousands of the va- 
rious productions of the waters zvere torn to pieces by the mountain, and 
confounded zvith the briny food ; and every specif c being of the deep, and 
all the inhabitants of the great abyss which is below the earth, zvere annihi-' 

J Tlie niQ-etr on t/ie waters, a title of Vishnou, 



\i6 TIIL ORIGIN OF PAGAV IDOLATRV. 

apoK III. lated ; whilst, from the xioleut agitation of the mountain, the forest-trees 
were dashed against each other and precipitated from its utmost height with 
all the birds thereon : from the violent cotfricativn of which a ragiyig fire 
was p7-oduccd, involving the whole mountain with smoke and fame as with a 
dark blue cloud and the vivid fash of lightning. The lion and the retreating 
elephant are overtaken by the devouring fames, and every vital being and 
every individual object are consumed in the general conflagration. The 
ragingfames, thus spreading destruction on all sides, were at length quenched 
by a shower of cloud-borne water poured down by the immortal Eendra. 
A7id tioxv a heterogeneous stream of the concocted juice of various trees and 
plants ran down into the briny flood. It v as from this milk-like stream of 
juices, produced from those streams, trees, and plants, and a mixture of 
melted gold, that the Soors obtained their immortality. The zvaters of the 
ocean, now being assimilated with those juices, were converted into milk ; 
and from that milk a kind of butter was presently produced : when the hea- 
veidy bands went again into the presence of Brahma, the grantcr of boo?is. 
end addressed him, saying : Except Narayan, every other Soor and Assocr 
is fatigued with his labour, and still the Amreeta doth not appear ; wherefore 
the churning of the ocean is at a stand. Then Brahma said unto Narayan ; 
Endue them with recruited strength, for thou art their support. And Na- 
rayan answered, and said : I will give fresh vigour to such as cooperate hi 
the work; let Mandar be zvhirled about, and the bed of the ocean be kept 
steady. When they heard the words of Narayan, they all returned again to 
the work, and began to stir about with great force that butter of the ocean : 
when there presently arose from out of the troubled deep first the Moon, 
with a pleasing countenance, shining xvith ten thousand beams of gentle light. 
Next folloxced Sree, the goddess of fortune, whose seat is the white lily of 
the waters ; then Soora-Devi, the goddess of wine; and the white horse, 
called Oochisrava. And (fter these there was produced from the unctuous 
mass the jewel Koxostoobh, that glorious sparkling gem worn by Narayan on 
his breast : then Pareejat the tree of plenty ; and Soorabhee, the cow that 
granted every heart's desire. The Moon, Soora-Devi, the goddess Sree, 
and the horse as swift as thought, instantly marched away towards the Detvs, 
keeping in the path of the sun. Then the Dew Dhanwantaree, in human 
shape, came forth, holding in hi9 hand a white vessel filed with the immortal 



THE ORIGIN OI- I'AGAN IDOLAIRV. 137 

juice Aim^Ha. When the Assoors hehdd these wondrous things appear, they <^"*p- •'• 
rained their tumultuous voices for the Amrita, and each of them clarnorously 
exclaimed, This of right is mine. In the mean time, Iravat, a mighty ele- 
phant, arose, now kept by the god of thunder : and, as they continued to 
churn the ocean more than enough, that deadly poison issued from its bed 
burning like a raging fire, "whose dreadful fumes in a moment spread through 
the world, confounding the three regions of the universe with its mortal 
stench ; until Siva, at the word of Brahma, swallowed the fatal drug to save 
mankind.' 

We may, 1 think, discover in this legend that mixture of Paradisiacal 
and diluvian ideas, which would naturally result from the circumstance of 
the Ark having rested in that identical mountainous region where the garden 
of Eden was once planted. 

(1.) It opens with a consultation of the hero-gods held on the summit of 
Meru : and the object of tlieir consultation is, how the lost water of im- 
mortality may be best regained. 

This part of the fable, when the identity of Meru and Paradise is recol- 
lected, must necessarily, I tliink, relate in the first instance to the obscurely 
promised recovery of that perpetual life, which was forfeited by the trans- 
gression of Adam and Eve. Yet, as the mythological history of Meru is 
completely blended with diluvianism (for Meru is but a locally appropriated 
transcript of the Paradisiacal Ararat) ; and as the world with its inhabitants 
was, after the flood, restored (as it were) to a new life within the very pre- 
eincts of Eden : the recovery of the lost Amrita is placed at the close of the 
deluge, and is thus studiously confounded or identified w-ilh the renovation 
©f the desolated earth. 

(S.) A principal instrument in the work is said to be mount Mandar. 
But Mandar is the very same mythological hill as Meru. This is manifest, 
both from its form, and from its locality. 

In the Hindoo delineation of the Courma Avatar, mount Mandar ap- 
pears as an inverted cone ; and by the divines of Thibet mount Aleru is 
thought to. resemble an inverted conical pyramid.* The forms of both 

' Wilkins's Geeta; p. 146 — 149. 

* See the print in Maur. Hist, of Hind. vol» i. p. 581. and Asiat. Res. vol. yiii. p. 273. 



128 THE ORIGIN CF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 

nooK III. therefore are so perfectly alike, as to prove sufficiently, that Mandar and 
Meru are but different names of one mountain. 

And this conclusion is decidedly established by a reference to geography. 
The literal Meru, or the local Ararat of Hindostan, has been shown to be 
the high country at the head of the holy river Ganges. But the literal 
iMandar, which, precisely like Casi and Meru, is esteemed a favourite re- 
treat of the ark-supported Siva and the navicular hero-gods, is similarly si- 
tuated at the source of the very same river.' 

Thus we have as distinct a proof as can be desired of the identity of Me- 
ru and Mandar : and, with it, both the import of the word JMandar, and 
the use to wliich in the legend the hill is applied, will be found exactly to 
agree. The word itself signifies a ynountain dividing the waters:'' and this 
appellation, which is most accurately descriptive of Meru or Albordi or 
Baris or Ararat, clearly relates to the circumstance of the arkite mountain 
being esteemed the first land that divided the waters of the subsiding de- 
luge by emerging from beneath them. Hence it is made the fabled instru- 
ment of churning the ocean, and of thus recovering the lost water of im- 
mortality. We shall be brought to the very same conclusion by an interest- 
ing particular in the delineation of the Courma Avatar, though that particu- 
lar is not specified in the legend itself. Vishnou appears sitting upon a lotos, 
which rests on the summit of mount Mandar. Now the lotos is declared 
to be a symbol of the ship Argha ; which wafted the great father over the 
waters of the r,etiring flood, and which therefore must certainly be tiie Ark. 
Such then being the import of the hierogly[)hic, it is easy to understand the 
allusion, with which it is here inti'oduced. The fish-god Vishnou, seated in 
the calix of this aquatic flower which rests on the summit of the diluvian 
mount of Paradise, is certainly Noah in the Ark when it grounded on the 
top of mount Ararat. 

(.•J.) As for the various pretious things produced from the churned ocean, 
they have all some reference either to the flood or to the sacred garden. Tlie 
;Moon, the cow of plenty, and the two goddesses of fortune and of wine, 
<?qually shadow out the mundane Ark : the mystic fruit-tree, and the white 

' Asiat. Kts. vol. iii. p. 193. * Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 74. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 129 

vessel filled with the immortal juice Amrita, are but corruptions of the tree chap. ir. 
of knowledge and the ambrosial fruit springing from the tree of life : while 
the elephant, under which form Buddha is believed to have been incarnate, 
and the seven-headed horse, which has been a familiar symbol in so many 
different parts of the globe, alike represent the great universal father as pre- 
siding over the seven members of his family. The same mythological cha- 
racter, that is to say, Adam manifested anew in the person of Noah, appears 
again as the physician Dev/-Dhanwantarce, who emerges from the ocean 
holding in his hand the vessel of Amiita. In the painting, he stands upon 
the water in the attitude of prayer : and near him, likewise on the water, is 
a bow, which seems to be placed there in allusion to the rainbow. As the 
restorer of the ruined world, he is properly made to bear the vase, which 
contains the recovered waters of immortality : and, as the destined comforter 
and healer of the anathematized earth, he is exhibited in the light of a skil- 
ful physician, the Apollo and Esculapius of the west, who is well able to 
heal the deep wounds of convulsed nature.' 

(4.) We may remark in the present fable, that, although the scene of it 
is laid in the ocean, although heavy torrents of rain are said to descend 
Avhile the hill INIandar is impetuously whirled round, and although the uni- 
versal creation is represented as being overwhelmed in the great abyss; yet 
a terrible conflagration is spoken of, as being the accompaniment of this 
destructive flood. 

It is curious to note, how frequently the old pagan accounts agree in that 
particular, and likewise in the appearance of some unusual star at the time 
of the dtluge. I must confess, that so general an accordance, which I have 
already had occasion to point out, strongly inclines me to the adoption of 
Mr. Whiston's theory, that the instrumental cause of the flood was the too 
near approach of a comet. On such a supposition, the prevailing notion, that 
the deluge was either preceded or attended by a conflagration and that some 
remarkable star hung in the firmament during the period of its continuance, 
will be naturally and easily accounted for: but, otherwise, it will be diflicult 
to assign any satisfactory reason for it. 

IV. Tiie diluvian traditions, w hich prevailed among the Celtic Druids, 

■ Gen. V. 29. 
Pag. Idol. VOL. II. R 



BOOK III. 



130 THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

bear in many respects a close resemblance to those, which still constitute so 
prominent a part of the theological code of Hindostan. The sum of them, 
according to Mr. Davies, is briefly as follows. 

The profligacy of mankind had provoked the Great Supreme to send a 
pestilential wind upon the earth. A pure poison descended ; every blast 
was death. At this time the patriarch, distinguished for his integrity, was 
shut up, together with his seven select companions, in the floating island or 
sacred inclosure with the strong door. Here the just ones were safe from 
injury. Presently, a tempest of fire arose. It split the earth asunder to the 
great deep. The lake Llion burst its bounds : the waves of the sea lifted 
themselves on high, round the borders of Britain : the rain poured down 
from heaven : and the water covered the earth. But that water was intend- 
ed as a lustration, to purify the polluted globe, to render it meet for the re- 
newal of life, and to wash away the contagion of its former inhabitants into 
the chasms of the abyss. The flood, which swept away from the surface of 
the earth the expiring remains of the patriarch's contemporaries, raised his 
vessel or inclosure on high from the ground, bore it safe upon the summit of 
the waves, and proved to him and his associates the water of life and reno- 
vation." 

1. Such is the Druidical account of the deluge : and it is curious to ob- 
serve, how perpetually the bards, in their sacred poems, recur to the various 
events of it. 

The immdation will surround us, the chief priests oj Ked.^ Yet com- 
plete is my chair in Caer Sidi.^ Neither disorder nor age zoill oppress him 
that is within it. It is knoxvn to Manawyd* and Pi-yderi,^ that three loud 

' Davies's Mythol. p. 226. * The ship-goddess Ccridwen. 

' The inclosure of Sidi or Ceridwcn, that is Stonehenge ; the circle of which symbolized at 
once the Ark and the World. Hence the Druids styled it the Ark of the World : and hence it 
was fabled to have sailed over the sea, under the guidance of Merlin, from Ireland to Britain. 

* Menu-Ida, the arkite or mundane Menu. He is said to have sailed through the ocean, 
inclosed within the curvatures of the ship-goddess Ked, which he formed for that special pur- 
pose. Gwawd Lludd y Mawr. apud Davies's Mythol. p. 563 et infra. He is palpably the 
same as the Indian Menu, who is preserved with seven companions in an ark supposed to be 
a form of the ship-goddess Isi or Ida. 

' Witdom, 01 Mental Intellect ; a title of Noah, equivalent to the Greek Nous, the San- 



THE OKIGIiV OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 131 

Strains round the fire will be sung before it : whilst the currents of the sea •="*'• '^' 
are round its borders and the copious fountain is open from above, the liquor 
within it is sweeter than delicious wine.' 

O thou proprietor of heaven and earth, to whom great wisdom is attri- 
buted, a holy sanctuary there is on the surface of the ocean. May its chief 
he joyful in the splendid festival, and at the time when the sea rises with ex- 
panding energy. Frequently does the surge assail the bards over their ves- 
sels of tnead: and, on the day when the billozvs are excited, may this inclosure 
skim away, though the billows come beyond the green spot from the region of 
the Picts.'' A holy sanctuary there is on the wide lake, a city ?iot protected 
with walls; the sea surrounds it.^ Demandest thou, O Britain, to what 
this can be meetly applied? Before the lake of the son of Erbin let thy ox 
be stationed. A holy sanctuary there is upon the ninth wave. Holy are its 
inhabitants in preserving themselves. They will not associate in the bonds 
of pollution. A holy sanctuary there is : it is rendered complete by the re- 
hearsal, the hymn, and the birds of the mountain. Smooth are its lays in 
its periodical festival: and my lord,^ duly observant of the splendid mover, ^ 
before he entered his earthly cell in the border of the circle, gave me mead 
and wine out of the deep crystal cup. A holy sanctuary there is within the 
gitlf : there every one is kmdly presented with his portion. A holy sanctuary 
there is with its productioris of the vessel of Ked.^ The xvritings of Pry- 
dain^ are the first object of anxious regard: should the waves disturb their 

scrit Menu, and the Latin Mens, or Menes. All these are similarly names of the great father, 
who was deemed the Soul or Mind of the World. 

' Taliesin's Sons of Llyr, apud Davies's Mythol, p. 506. 

* The inclosure is Stonehenge, as before : here it is evidently described as a ship. 

■* A lake symbolized the diluvian ocean. Here it is used synonymously with the sea; for 
the sanctuary is j;i a lake, and yet the sea surrounds it. 

* The hierophant, by whom the bard has been initiated into the Mysteries of the navicular 
Hu and Ceridwen, the great father and great mother of Celtic theology. 

' The sun, worshipped in conjunction with the great father. 

* The cauldron of inspiration ; an implement of such importance, that the term was used 
metaphorically to describe the entire Mysteries of bardism. For an account of this cauldron 
as used in the Druidical Orgies, see below, book v. c. 6. § VIII. 4. 

' Or Hu, the helio-arkite Noah. 



132 THE ORIGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

foundation, I would again, if necessary, conceal them deep in the cell. A 
holy sai2ctuary there is upon the margin of the flood : there shall every 
one be kindly presented with his zvishes.' 

Disturbed is the island df the praise of Hu, the island of the severe re- 
munerator / even Mofia of the generous bowls xvhich animate vigour, the 
island whose barrier is the Mena? Deplorable is the fate of the ark of 
Aeddon,^ since it is perceived, that there neither has been nor will be his equal 
in the hour of perturbation. IFhen Aeddon came from the land of Gwydion 
into Seon of the strong door,' a pure poison diffused itself for four succen- 
sivc nights, whilst the season was as yet serene. His contemporaries fell. 

' Taliesin's Min. Dinbych, or aviow of tlic bardie sanctuary, apud Davics. 

* Noah, in his character of the destroyer ; the Siva of the Hindoos, and the Cronus of the 
Greeks. 

•" The frith between Anglesey and Wales, so called from Menu. 

* Or Adonis, a title of Hu; the Greek Aidoneus. 

' The Ark, and hence the insulated fanes sacred to arkitc Mysteries. Gwydion was Hermes : 
andJ^Icrmes or Bnddha was the same as Hu or Noah. His land may have been the old world, 
which was overwhelmed by the deluge ; as it was his traditional office to conduct the dead into a 
region beneath the abyss. In this passage we have much arkite mythology. 1. The patriarch 
came from the land of Hermes or the old world. C. He entered the inclosurc of Seon or of 
the nine sacred damsels, which was guarded by the strong door or barrier. This inclosure was 
the Ark. 3. When he was shut vp in this sanctuary, the Great Supreme sent forth a poison- 
ous vapour to destroy the wicked world. To this bane the bards often allude. But the messen- 
ger of death entered not the inelvsure of Seon. 4. By this pestilential vapour, which filled 
the whole atmosphere, the patriarch's wicked contemporaries were destroyed : but the earth was 
still polluted. 5. Then the great magicians with their magic wands set free the purifying ele- 
ments: one of the effects of which, as described in the triads, was the dreadful tempest of fire, 
•which split the earth to the great deep, and consumed the greatest part of all that lived. Upon 
this, the waters of Llyn Llion ur the great abyss burst forth. 6. These powerful agents would 
have destroyed the patriarch and his family in Caer Seon, had nut Hermes counselled him to 
impress a mystical form, or to strike a peculiar signal, upon his shield. 7- This device, together 
with the integrity of the just ones, preserved them from being overwhelmed by the deluge. 8. 
Hence an itnilation of these adventures became a sacred institution, which was duly observed in 
the Mysteries and conducted by the presiding priest. Davies in loc. 

It is easy to sec, that the Arabic fable of the righteous monitory prophet Houd, and of the 
cold pestilential wind Sarsar which destroys a wicked race that had long been warned in vain, 
has originated from the same source as the British and Hindoo legends. .Mr. Southey has in- 
troduced the circumstance from D'Herbelot and Sale into his beautiful poem of Thalaba. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 133 

The woods afforded them no shelter, when the winds arose in their skirts. ^^'^^- "'• 
Then Math and Eiuiydd, masters of the inagic wand, set the elements at 
large : but in the living Gwydion and Amacthon there was a resource of 
counsel to impress the front of his shield with a prevalent form, a form irre- 
sistible. Thus the mighty combination of his chosen rank was not over- 
'whelmed by the sea. Disturbed is the island of the praise of Hit, the island of 
the severe inspector. Before Buddwas^ may the community of the Cymry re- 
main in tranquillity ; he being the dragon chiej, the proprietor, the right- 
ful claimant, iti Britain. JVhat shall consume a ruler of the illustrious 
circle ? The four damsels, having ended their lamentation, have performed 
their last office.'' But the just ones toiled : on the sea, which had no land, 
long did they dzvell : of their integrity it was, that they did not endure the 
extremity of distress.^ 

Am I not called Gorlassar, the etherial ? My belt has been a rainbow 
enveloping my foe. Am I not a protecting prince in darkness to him, who 
presents my form at both ends of the hive?* Am not la plougherP Have 
not I protected my sanctuary, and with the aid of my friends caused the 
wrathful ones to vanish ? Have I not shed the blood of the indignant in 
bold warfare against the sons of the giant Nur ?* Have not I iinparted 
of my guardian power a ninth portion in the pi-owess of Arthur ? Did 

' A title of Hu, who was venerated under the sj'mbol of a huge serpent and acknowledged 
as the supreme lord of Britain, where his chief-priest governed as his vicegerent. Buddwas is, 
1 am persuaded, the same word as the oriental Buddha or Boudt or Budd-Isa, and as the Greek 
Boiotiis or Butes or Bootes. 

* These damsels were the arkile priestesses, whose office it was in the Mysteries to bewail 
the allegorical death of their god ; as the Jewish women, who had apostatised to the idolatry 
of Syria, wept for 'Ihammuz or Adonis. The same rites prevailed in Egypt on account of 
the supposed death of Osiris. 

' Taliesin's Elegy of Aeddon of Mona. apud Davies. 

* A hive was a type of the /Vj"k. Hence both the diluvian priestesses and regenerated souls 
were called bees: hence bees were feigned to be produced from the carcilse of a cow, which 
also symbolized the Ark : and hence, as the great father was esteemed an infernal god, honey 
was much used both in funeral rites and in the Mysteries. 

' An allusion to the agricultural character of Noah. 

* The wicked race of the antediluvian Titans or Nephelim. 



134 THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN mOLATRY. 

iiooKiK. fiQi I give to Hcnpeii the tremendous szeord of the enchanter? Did not I 
perfortn the rites of purijication, when Hearndor' moved with toil to the top 
of the hill? I was subjected to the yoke for my ajjliction ; but commensurate 
was my confidence :'' the xoorid had no existence, were it not for my progeny. 
Privileged on the covered mount ,^ O Ilu ivith the expanded wings,* has been 
thy son, thy bardic proclaimer, thy deputy,^ O father Deon .* my voice has re- 
cited the death-song, where the mound representing the world is constructed of 
stone work J Let the countenance of Prydain, let the glancing Hu, attend 
to me.' 

The birds of wrath securely went to Mona to demand a sudden shower of 
the sorcerers : but the goddess of the silver xvheel of auspicious mien, the 
dawn of serenity, the greatest res trainer of sadness, in behalf of the Bri- 
tons, speedily throws round his hall the stream of the rainbow ; a sti'eam, 
which scares away violence from the earth, and causes the bane of its form- 
er state round the circle of the world to subside. The books of the ruler of 
the mount record no falshood. The chair of the preserver remains hei'e: 
and, till the doom, shall it continue in Europe!^ 

2. With respect to the genuineness of these remarkable fragments of 
Druidical mythology, I would adopt a mode of arguing similar to that 
which has already been adopted in the case of the Zend-Avesta. 

To the main question I think it wholly immaterial, by whom the Triads 
may have been reduced into their present^orw ; I rest the matter upon the 
contents of the bardic writings. Now, from the minute resemblance between 

' Iron-door, S(5i;fei9ufi;, a title of the Ark. 

* Noah's state of affliction during the flood was symbolized by a bull submitting to the yoke. 
' The sacred mount or tumulus, that represented Meru or Ararat. 

* Thus the Orphic poet celebrates Dionusus, the first-born of the floating egg, as exulting 
with his golden wings. Hymn. v. 2. 

* The character of the god was sustained by his representative, the archimagus or chief druid. 
^ Deon seems to be an abbreviation of the Sanscrit Deonaush and the Greek Dionus. 

' One of the circular stone temples, probably Stonehenge. These, agreeably to the oriental 
notion of the Ida-vratta, represented, as we are here told, the World ; and, as we are elsewhere 
informed, the mundane Ark, to adopt the phraseology of Druidism, 

' Marnwnad Uthyr Pcndragon. apud Davies. 

' Cadair Ceridwen. apud Davies. 



THE ORIGIN OP PAGAN IDOLATRY. 135 

the mythology of the Druids, and that of the Egyptians, the Hindoos, and 
other eastern nations, no person could have forged those remains in the mid- 
dle ages without being well acquainted with the religious opinions of those 
nations : and it is not easy to say, how such an acquaintance, such an inii- 
mate acquaintance, with them could have been procured at that period. We 
not only find a general indefinite similarity ; but we meet with the same sym- 
bols, and even the same titles, of persons, exhibited under exactly similar 
circumstances. If a bull and a dragon were two eminent emblems through- 
out the east, not to mention Greece and Italy ; they are no less so in the 
writings of the bards. If the initiated were thought to receive a second 
and even a third birth in the IVIysteries of the Greeks and the Hindoos ; the 
very same potency was ascribed to the Mysteries of the Druids. If circles 
on the summits of hills were throughout the east esteemed at once types of 
the Ark and of the World ; a notion exactly similar prevailed in Britain. 
If the Indian Menu is preserved from the deluge in a large vessel, well 
stored with corn, and bound with a vast sea-serpent ; the Druidical Men- 
wydd or Menu-Ida sails through the grievous waters inclosed within the cur- 
vatures of Ked, the forepart of which is stored with corn and bound with 
connected snakes. If the old Greek writers tell us, that Dionusus, Ceres, 
and Proserpine, were venerated in Britain ; and that their orgies were the 
same as those of the Samothracian Cabiri : on examining the bardic frag- 
ments which have come down to us, we find them setting forth the worship of 
those very three deities, and describing certain IVIysteries which closely resem- 
ble those of Samothrace.' In short, if we advert to the writings of the 
bards, we there find a religion delineated, which diflfers from that of Hin- 
dostan no more, than the religion of papal Rome (as INIr. Wilford has aptly 
remarked) differs from that of Geneva. We know however, that the bards 
of the middle ages, posterior to the Christian era, could have had no com- 
munication with Hindostan. How then are we to account for this -strange 
series of coincidences ? We cannot reasonably ascribe it to what is usually 
called accident. But, if it be not accidental, then the substance of the 

* Dionys. Perieg. ver. 565, 575. Artemid. apxul Strab. Geog. lib. iv. p. 198. Schol. in 
ApoU. Argon, lib. i. ver. yi7. 



CBAP. IV. 



BOOK III. 



136 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 

bardic writings must exhibit to us the genuine theology of the ancient Druids: 
because the bards of the age of Taliesin could not have borrowed their ma- 
terials directly from Hindostan. 

On the w hole, I see not how we can account for the violent attachment 
of the Britons to the Mysteries of Hu and Ceridwen even so late as the 
twelfth century, which is a naked historical fact ; unless we sujjpose that 
those Mysteries were the Mysteries immemorially celebrated by their fathers 
agreeably to the positive declarations of tiie Greek historians. Tlje Britons 
were remarkably tenacious of old customs : and it is utterly incredible, that, 
at the very time when they were gradually embracing Christianity, they 
should suddenly strike out a novel superstition and embrace it in conjunc- 
tion with the Gospel. Yet, unless we allow the genuineness of the bardic 
materials, we shall be compelled to adopt the inconceivable theory, that the 
Britons at that precise period not only invented a new superstition, but that 
they stumbled upon the very theology which still so eminently prevails in 
Hindostan. Many were the attempts made to wean them from their idola- 
trous propensities ; and many are the indignant allusions to the monks, 
which are scattered through the writings of the bards. Those writings cer- 
tainly describe what the Britons were then attached to : and I am con- 
strained to believe, by an accumulated rnass of evidence, that what they 
were so vehemently attached to was the very theology, to which their fathers 
from time immemorial had been attached before them.' 

V. I have already had occasion to notice the Persian account of the de- 
luge, as contained in the Zend-Avesta: and, from the peculiar mode in 
which the great father is there symbolized, I am inclined to believe, that the 
groundwork of it is a portion of genuine ancient mythology. The Magi how- 
ever, according to Dr. Hyde, appear also to have been in possession of a more 
literal narrative of that event, though mingled with circumstances not a 
little impertinent. 

The orthodo.x part of the old Persians, he informs us, believed in an 
universal deluge : though some sects among them denied it entirely ; and 

' Mr. Davies very reasonably argues the point in a somewhat similar manner. Mythol. p. 
257,258, •259. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 137 

Others maintained, that it Mas only partial, not extending beyond a mountain ^"'^'- "'• 
situated in the confines of Assyria and Persia. The flood itself they sup- 
posed to have burst fortli from the oven of an old woman named Zala-Cu- 
pha, whose house Mas situated on the mountain where Noah dMcit previous 
Ko that calamity. It is said to have been asserted by Zeradusht, that the 
deluge Mould never have taken place, had it not been OM-ing to the wicked- 
ness and diabolical incantations of IMalcus.' 

This cause is substantially the sauje as that assigned in the Zend-Avesta. 
The strange notion of the waters bursting forth from an oven, the prototype 
of which oven I conceive however to have been a sacred Mithratic cavern, 
was not peculiar to the Persians. A similar legend is introduced into the 
Koran : and some pretended, that the oven was that, which liad been used 
by Eve, and which had afterwards been possessed by the successive pa- 
triarchs of the Sethite line until at length it devolved to Noah.* W'itii the 
tale seems to be blended the very prevalent opinion, that fire, no less than 
water, Mas employed in the destruction of the old Morld. Thus the literal 
Arabic of Mohammed says, that the oven boiled over Mith the waters of 
the deluge : and thus the JeMish Rabbins have a tradition, that those v\aters 
were boiling hot' Such fables are nearly allied to the boiling of the British 
cauldron of Ceridwen, and to the churning of the ocean in the Courma 
Avatar of Hindostan. 

It is M'orthy of observation, that the Persians described the patriarch Mho 
escaped, by the very san)e title as that employed both by the Hindoos and the 
Greeks. One of the names of the Indian Menu is Call or Time: CroimSy 
the Greek appellation of Saturn, has a manifest affinity M-ith Chrorius, which 
also signifies Ti)/ie :* and Sir William Jones was assured by a learned fol- 
lower of Zeradusht, that in the books, which the Behdins hold sacred, men- 
tion is made of an universal deluge styled the deluge of Time.' 

VI. The Egyptian mythology is clearly the same as that of the Brahmens 
and the Druids. It is for the most part built upon memorials of the deluge : 

' Hyde dc nl. vet. Pcrs. c. x. * Koran, c. xi. Sale's aniiot. in loc. 

' Sale's Annot. in Koian. c. xi. 

♦ Salurnus — a Grarcis, immulata litera, Kfovoj quasi Xfoyof vocatur. Macrob. Saturn, 
lib. i. c. 22. p. 214. 

» Asiat. lUs. vol. i. p, 240. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. S 



BOOK III. 



138 • THE ORIGIN OK PAGAN IDOLATllT. 

and many of its peculiarities were probably introduced by the Shepherd- 
kings, who seem to have been no other than a branch of those Chasas or 
Cuthim or PalH ; who, under different circumstances and at different periods, 
carried both their arms, their pohty, and their religion, into every quarter of 
the glube. The character of the Egyptian deities I shall reserve for future 
consideration : at present it is my wisb, as much as may be, to confine my- 
self to traditions specially describing the deluge. 

On this point, the Egyptians entertained an opinion, exactly similar to 
that of the Brahmens and tbe Druids ; or rather, I should say, the identical 
opinion, which I have so frequently been led to notice as the very foundation 
of old pagan mythology : namely, that the world was destined to experience 
many vicissitudes of destruction and renovation, partly by the agency of fire, 
and partly by that of water. The priest, who conversed v\ith Plato on the 
subject, after discussing a dissolution of the earth by fire set forth (as he 
imaorined) under the story of Phaethon, next proceeded to discourse of its 
submersion by a great deluge. The gods, said lie, tiozv zcishi/ig to purify 
the earth by water, overxvhelmed it with a flood. On this occasion, certain 
herdsmen and shepherds ivere sailed on the tops of the mountains : but they, 
who dwelt in the cities which are situated in our country, were swept away 
into the sea by the rising of the rivers.^ 

It is impossible not to observe the remarkable similarity between the no- 
tions which enter into this account, and those which constitute so prominent 
a feature in the tradition of the Druids. Fire precedes water in the task of 
destruction : and the latter is considered, not merely as an instrument of 
desolation, but as an agent employed to purify the earth from the stains 
which it had contracted by the wickedness of its former inhabitants. This 
coincidence serves additionally to prove, that the writings of the bards con- 
tain fragments of genuine British mythology. 

I may here properly remark, that the world is sometimes said to be des- 
troyed by the joint operation of fire and water, and at other times is repre- 
sented as being successively dissolved by each of those two agents separately. 
I think it probable, that the notion of a deluge of fire, as well as of a deluge 
of water, originated in the first instance from tlie scorching effects of the 

• Pfeton. Tim. fol. 22, 23. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 139 

'comet; which, by its too near approach to the earth, seems at length, on <=ha.p. iv. 
the physical principle of attraction, to have dislodged the waters of the 
great abyss and thus to have produced the flood. 

VII. In the ancient empire of China, we do not find those peculiarly 
distinct notices of a general deluge, which may be detected in other coun- 
tries : yet there is sufficient to prove, that the recollection of that awful event 
has lieen by no means wholly obliterated. 

IVIariinius informs us, that the Chinese writers make frequent mention of 
the flood, though they do not enter into the causes which produced it. This 
deficiency led that author to doubt, whether they spoke of the Noetic flood, 
or of some other inundation peculiar to the realm of China. So far as this 
however he ventures to assert, that there is no great dissimilitude between 
the two accounts, and that in point of chronology they nearly coincide, 
each having taken place (to speak in round numbers) about three thousand 
years before the Christian era. The (^hinese acknowledge, that, previous to 
the time of f'olii, who from various circumstances appears to be the Noah of 
Scripture, their annals do not deserve the name of well-authenticated history.* 

It is said, that the Chinese authors frequently speak of two heavens; the 
latter of whicii succeeded the former. From the description which they give 
of them, the first seems to allude to the state of the world before the fall, 
and the second to its condition at the deluge. During the period of the first 
heaven, a pure pkasure, and a perfect tranquillity^ reigned over all nature. 
There xvas neither labour, nor pain, nor so7-rozv, nor criminality. Nothing 
made opposition to the will of man. The whole creation etyoyed a state of 
happiness. Everything was beautiful ; every thing was good : all beings 
were perfect in their kind. In this happy age, heaven and earth employed 
their virtues jointly to embellish nature. There was no jarring in the ele- 
ments, no inclemency in the air ; all things grew without labour ; and uni- 
versal fertility prevailed. The active and passive virtues conspired together, 
tvithout any effort or opposition, to produce and perfect the Universe. The 
philosophers, who adhered to these ancient traditions, and particularly 
Tchouangse, say, that, 171 the state of the Jirst heaven, man was united 

' Mart. Hist. Sin. lib. i. p. X'i. 



140 THE OnrciN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

mooK in. inwardly to the Supreme Reason, aijd that outwardly he practised all the 
icorks of justice. Tl(e heart rejoiced in truth, and there was no mixture cf 
Jalshood. The four seasons oj the year succeeded lach other regularly and 
without coiijusion. There 7cere no impetuous winds and exctssiie lains. 
The sun and the moon, without ever biing clouded, furnished a light purer 
and brighter than at present. The Jive plant ts kept on their course without 
any inequality. There was nothing, which did hnrni to man, or which sitf- 
Jered any hurt from him : but an universal amiy and harmony reigned over 
all nature. Tliese descriptions manifestly allude to a state of pristine inno- 
cence ; and coincide with those notions of a gulden a<fe, which have been so 
funiliar to tne bulk of mankind. On the other hand, the account which 
they give of the second heaven clearly points out the dreadful convulsion, 
which the world experienced at the epoch of the deluge. The pillars of 
heaven were broken. The earth shook to its very foundation. The heavens 
sank lower toxcards the north. The sun, the jnoon, and the stars, changed 
their motions. 1 he earth Jell to pieces : and the waters inclosed within its 
bosom burst J or th xcilh violence, and overjioxced it. Man having rebelled 
against heaven, the system oJ the universe zccis totally disordered. The sun 
7cas eclipsed, the planets altered their course, and the grand harmony of 
nature was disturbed. It can scarcely, I think, be doubted, that the great 
convulsion of the world, here described, is the deluue. The n)oial cause of 
it is assigned by the Chinese in a very striking manner. ^11 these evils arose 
from mans despising the supreme monarch (J the Universe. He would needs 
dispute about truth and J alshood ; and these disputes banished the eternal 
reason. He then Jixed his looks on terrestrial objects, and loved them to 
excess: hence arose the passions He became gradually transformed into 
the objects, which he loved ; and the celestial reason entirely abandoned him. 
Such was the source of all crimes ; and hence originated those various mise- 
ries, which arejustly sent by heaven as a punishment of wickedness.' 

As the deluge was a principal chronological epocli, ami as each fictitious 
deluge was the commencement of time to the mundane system which it ush- 
ered in ; both the Greeks, the Hindoos, and tlie Persians, agreed iu bestow- 

' Kanisay on the mythol. of the pagans. 



THE ORIGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 14] 

ing the appell itioi) of Time on the great father. I\fach the same notion pre- chap. iv. 
vailed among the Chinese / may assure 1/ ui, ajter fuil Inquiry and consi- 
dtralion, says Sir WilHani Jones in an adihess to the Society over wliich he 
so worthily presided, that the Chinese, like the Hindoos, believe this earth 
to hirce been wholly vovered uith xvater, which, in works of undisputed au- 
thenticity, they describe as Jloiring abundantly, then subsiding, and separat- 
ing the higher Jrom the lower age nf mankind ; that the division of' time, 
from xchich their pot tical history begins, just preceded the appearance of Fohi 
on the mountains of Chin ; but that the great inundation iit the reian of 
Yao zvas either confned to the lowlands of his kingdom (if the whole account 
of it be not a fable), or (if it contain any allusion to the flood of Noah) 
has been ignorantly misplaced by the Chinese annalists.'' The truth of the 
matter seems to be, that the early history of China, h]<e tliat of all otiier 
ancient nations, is either inytholojiical or largely blended u ith mythology • 
for the characters of Fohi and Yao, like tliose of the GreekO-f/ffes and 
Deucalion, sufficiently prove them to be equally the patriarch Noah. 

VIII. The same belief in the occurrence of an universal deluge prevailed 
in the western as well as in the eastern continent. 

1. At the time of the conquest of America, the inhabitants of Mechoaca, 
TIascala, and Achagna, still preserved a tradition, that the world was once 
overwhelmed by water in consequence of the prevailing wickedness of the age. 
The IMechoacans believed, that a priest called Tezpi was preserved along 
with his wife and children in a great box of wooJ, into ^vhich he had also 
collected a variety of animals and excellent seeds of every description. After 
the waters had retreated, he sent out a i)ird named Aura, which did not re- 
turn He next sent out several others, which likewise did not return. Last 
of all he sent out a bird much smaller than the former ones, but which the 
natives esteemed the most. This soon appeared again with the branch of a 
tree in its mouth * 

The same tradition is given, with a slight variation, by Herrera. Accord- 
ing^to this writer, the Mechoacans supposed, that a single family was formerly 

' Asiiit. Res. vol. ii. p. 3/6. 

* histoirc generaie dcs voyages, apud Howard. 



142 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK III. p,ege,T,g(j in an ark from the waters of an universal deluge, and that a num- 
ber of animals sufficient to stock the new world was saved with them. Dur- 
ing the time that they were shut up in the ark, several ravens were sent out, 
one of which brought back the branch ol a tree.' 

2. The Peruvians, as we are informed by Gomara, believed, in a similar 
manner, that it once rained so violently as to inundate all the lower parts of 
the country. In consequence of this, an universal destruction of the human 
species took place, a few persons only excepted, who escaped into caves 
situated on the tops of mount.iins. To these elevated retirements they had 
previously conveyed a sufficient stock of provisions and a number of living 
animals ; lest, when the waters abated, the whole race should become extinct. 
As soon as the rain ceased, they sent out two dogs, which returned to them 
besmeared with mud and slime. Hence they concluded, that the flood had 
not yet subsided. After a certain interval they sent out more dogs, which, 
coming back dry, convinced them that the earth was now l)abitable. Upon 
this they left the places into which they had retired, and became the progeni- 
tors of the present race of men. The number of persons, whom they sup- 
posed to have been tnus saved, is seven. But this is the precise number of 
the Noetic family, exclusive of its head : whence that number became so 
famous in the diluvian mythology of the ancients. The Peruvian seven are 
doubtless the same as the seven Cabiri, the seven Titans, the seven Hindoo 
Rishis, and the seven arkile companions of the British Arthur.* 

In this account no mention is made of the Ark : but, if we may believe 
Herrera, the deficiency was supplied by the more accurate tradition of the 
mountaineers of Peru. They affirmed, that all perished in the deluge, ex- 
cept six persons who were saved in a float. From them descended the inha- 
bitants of that country.' 

3. The Brazilians likewise had their account of a general flood. When 
that event took place, all mankind perished, one person and his sister only 
excepted, who escaped on a Janipata. From this pair the Brazilians de- 
duced their origin. Lerius informs us, that he was present at one of their 

' Hcrrcr. Hist, of Amer. trans, by Stevens, vol. iii. p. 250. 
* Gomar. apud Purch. Pilg. b. ix. c. 8, 10. 
U'rrcr. Hist, of Amer. Decad. xi. b. i. c. 4. 



THE OBIGIK OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 143 

assemblies, when, in a solemn chorus, they chaunted a kind of requiem to the ''^*'' '"' 
souls of their ancestors. In the course of the song, they did not fail to no- 
tice the catastrophfe of the deluge, in which the m hole world perished, except 
some of their progenitors who escaped by climbing high trees.' 

According to Thevet, the Brazihans on the sea-coast were somewhat more 
circumstantial in their detail. The deluge., says lie, which these savages talk 
^much about, and of which they spoke so often to vie, was in their opinion 
universal. They say, that Sommay, a Carrihee of great dignity, had two 
children : the name of the. one was Tamendonare ; the name of the other, 
Ariconte. These were of different dispositions, and therefore mortally hated 
each other. The peacej ul Tamendonare delighted in the cultivation of the 
earth : but Ariconte, despising agriculture, was solely bent ( n xcar, and 
intent on the suljugation of his neighbours not excepting his own brother. It 
happened, as this warrior relumed one day from the battle, that he brought 
to Tamendonare the arm of his enemy, and haughtily reproached him as not 
having sufficient courage to defend his xvfe and children. Tamendonare, 
hearing his brother speak thus, was much grieved at his pride, and said to 
him ; If thou wert as valiant as thou boast est, thou wouldest have brought 
thine enemy entire. Incensed at this reproach, Ariconte threw the arm 
against the door of his brothers house : but, at the same instant, the whole 
village where they were was carried up into the sky, and they remained on 
tarth. Tamendonare seeing this, either from astonishment or passion, struck 
the ground so violently, that out of it issued a vast stream of water. The 
stream rose so high, that in a short time it reached the hills and mountains, 
and seemed to exceed the height of the very clouds. It continued to flow, 
until the earth was entirely covered. The two brothers, solicitous to save 
themselves, ascended the highest mountains of the country, and there icith 
their zvives climbed into the trees. Tamendonare took refuge with one of his 
wives in a tree named Pindona; Ariconte zvith his nije, in a tree named 
Geiiipar. Whilst they were there, in oi'der that thty might see if the u aters 
were abated, Ariconte offered some of thejruit rf his tree to his zrfe, saying, 
Break off a piece of this, and let it fall down. This being done, they knew 

' Purch. Pil" b. ix. c. 5. 



14t THE OniGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATftr. 

that it was not yet time to descend into the vallies, the waters being still very 
high. They assert, that in thin deluge all mankind and all animals were 
drowned, except the two brothers and their wi-ces ; from whom ajtcrwards 
sprang tzvo different races of people. ' 

Besides an eic press mention of the flood, I think we may discover in the 
present legend a manifest allusion to the two different antediluvian families of 
Seth and Cain, whose place was supplied after the deluge by the peaceful 
and the warlike descendants of Noah. 

4. So again, wc learn from Peter Martyr, that, when the Spaniards first 
discovered Nicaragua, they attempted to persuade the prince of the country 
to embrace Christianity. Upon this he immediately inquired, whether those, 
who professed the religion of Jesus, had any knowledge of the flood; which, 
according to traditional accounts received from his predecessors, had once 
covered the whole earth, and had destroyed both men and beasts.' 

5. A similar belief prevailed in the Terra-Firma of Soutii America. It 
was the tradition of the inhabitants of Castilla del Oro, that, when the uni- 
versal deluge happened, one man Mith his wife and children escaped in a 
canoe, and that from them the world vvas repeopled. They further believed, 
that there was one lord in heaven, who sent the rain, and who caused the 
motions of the celestial bodies; and likewise that there was in heaven a very 
beautiful woman with a child. ' 

From the symbolical mode of worship, which prevailecl throughout the 
old continent and which the Americans had by no means forgotten,* I am 
inclined to ascribe the last particular to the arkite astronomical superstition. 
The ship of Noah was typified by a female; who was supposed to have 
emerged from the sea, who was deemed the receptacle and common mother 
of tlie hero-gods, and who nevertheless was elevated to the sphere and iden- 
tified with the Moon. Of this female Noah was reckoned sometimes the 
husband or father, and sometimes the offspring. In the former character, 
he was represented as a venerable old man; in the latter, as a new-born 

' Cosmog. Univcr. vol. iv. 1. xxi. c. 4. 

* Purch. Pilg. b. viii. c. li. 

' Herrcr. Hist, of Amer. Decad. xi. b. i. c. 4. 

* More will be said on this point hereafter, b. iv. c. 4. f X. 



THE ORIGIJf OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 145 

is celebrated as the offspring of the ship-goddess Aphrodite or Derceto, is cuap. vi. 
the same person as Buddha or Osiris or Bacchus or Adonis'. He is the 
same therefore as the transmigrating great father: and his final union or 
celestial marriage with Psyche, who in reference to her supposed new birth 
is depicted with the wings of a butterfly, seems to shadow out that ultimate 
absorption of the soul into the essence of the universal parent which 
formed so prominent a feature of the old mystic philosophy. We must 
observe, that Apuleius describes his heroine as falling from the enjoyment 
of heavenly love through the impulse of a fatal curiosity, and as under- 
going toils and troubles and hardships of every description ere she recovers 
her forfeited happiness. 

The whole of this is perfectly consentaneous with the drift and awful 
ceremonial of those Mysteries, respecting which he is treating. During 
the inclosure within the Ark, the great father and his offspring were thought 
to be in a state of death and darkness, to undergo heavy toils, and to sus- 
tain unspeakable dangers and calamities in the course of their transmigra- 
tory progress to Eden or the isles of the blessed : and, in imitation of such 
difficulties, the aspirant was often made even literally to encounter very 
severe and appalling trials, ere his mystic regeneration into light and liberty 
and iioliness was allowed to be accomplished. No one, as w'e learn from 
Gregory Nazianzen, could be initiated into the Mysteries of the Persian 
Mithras until he had undergone all sorts of penal trials, and had thus ap- 
proved himself holy and impassible *. He was made to pass through fire 
and water, to brave the opposing sword, and to support the most austere 
fasts, without shrinking or complaining. If his courage failed him, he wa& 
rejected as unworthy, and cast out as profane '. Similar difticulties, though 
operating rather upon the imagination than upon the bodily organs, were 
objected to the candidates for initiation into the Mysteries of Eleusis. They 
were required to grope their darkling way through a terrific gloom as of 
the grave, while hideous phantoms flitted before their eyes, and while their 
ears were stunned with the loud hayings of the infernal dogs. This tasli 

' Vide supra book iv. c. 5. § XXII. * Greg. Naz. 1 Oral, cont Julian. 

' Maurice's Ind. Ant. vol. v. p. 991 

Pag. IdoL VOL. in. T 



14-6 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 

eooK V. being accomplished with due fortitude, they suddenly emerged from the 
horrors of the artificial Hades, and were admitted as regenerate souls into 
the overpowering splendor of the sacred isles of Elysium. 

To such a process Virgil alludes in the sixth book of the Eneid. As 
all the initiated, whether Hercules or Theseus or Orpheus or Bacchus or 
Ulysses, are invariably said to have descended into hell ; so the poet con- 
ducts his hero into the realms below, commencing his narrative with the 
identical formula which the hierophant was wont to use while the doors 
were closing upon the profane '. After safely passing through much oppo- 
sition and through many appalling spectacles, En^a^ at length arrives in 
the Paradisiacal fields of Elysium. Here Anchises, personating the hiero- 
phant, sets forth in a solemn oration the sum and substance of the mystical 
philosophy : and, in the course of it, fails not to describe those purgatorial 
trials, through which the aspirants were required to win their way, ere they 
could transmigrate or be born again into the Paradisiacal islands of the 
blessed *. 

Now these were the precise trials undergone by such as were initiated 
into the Mysteries of Mithras. They are the same also as those, to which 
the devotees among the Hindoos still fanatically submit. In each case 
moreover the end was still the same. Such austerities were invariably 
practised with a view to obtain that purification of soul, or rather that 
enthusiastic abstraction from every worldly object and that union of mind 
with the great father, which was believed to constitute the spiritual part 
of the regeneration of the Mysteries. Hence, among the Hindoos, no less 
than among the Persians, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Celts, those, 
who have submitted to such frantic austerities, are dignified with the appel- 
lation of the twice-born '. 

2. As the purifying transmigration took place during the passage of the 

' Schol. in Apoll. Argon, lib. i. ver. 916. Scliol. in Equit. Arist. ver. 782. Schol. in 
Arist. Ran. ver. 357. apud Warburton. Albric. de deor. imag. c. xxii. p. 324-. Tzetz. in 
Lycoph. ver. 1328, 51. Apollod. Bibl. lib. ii. c. 5. § 12. Virg. .Eneid. lib. vi. ver. 
119—124, 258. 

* Virg. jEneid. lib. vi. ver. 723 — 755- 

' Maur. Ind. Ant. vol. v. p. 954. Instit. of Menu. chap. ii. § 79, 108, US— 150. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 147 

regenerated souls from one World to another, as the prototype of this <="*»•• vi. 

imagined passage was the entrance of the Noiitic family into the Ark from 

the antediluvian World and tiieir egress from it into the postdiluvian, and 

as the Metempsychosis was from the earliest period immediately connected 

with the Metamorphosis : we shall not wonder to find an opinion very 

generally prevalent, that the human soul, after its departure from the body, 

in order that it might be penally cleansed from the various stains contracted 

in the flesh, was destined successively to enter into the forms of all kinds 

of animals. 

This doctrine is set forth with much minuteness of detail in the theology 
of the Hindoos ' : it is taught likewise in those remains which have come 
down to us of the old Chaldean philosophy*; it was equally inculcated by 
the Egyptian priesthood ' : and it was zealously ado|)ted into those bor- 
rowed Mysteries, which were instituted by Pythagoras*. Traces of it 
remain to this day in the east : and, as the great poem of Ovid is wholly 
built upon the tenet in question, so we can scarcely take up an oriental tale 
in which it does not immediately present itself to our notice. 

Of the ancient Mysteries, as we might naturally expect, it constituted a 
very eminent part : for, since the whole doctrine of transmigration however 
modified sprang from the passage of the great father out of one World into 
another, it would of course be treated of in those Orgies which professed 
to detail the varied fortunes of the principal hero-god. Thus the soul of 
Osiris was said to migrate into a bull ; that of Typhon, into an ass and a 
crocodile ; and those of the other divinities, into the forms of other animals. 
Thus also the hero of the Metamorphoses of Apuleius, which relates alto- 
gether to the old Mysteries, is described as being ciianged into an ass. 
And thus the British Taliesin, when detailing the process of his initiation 
into the Orgies of Ceridwen, speaks of himself as assuming a variety of 
different figures, ere he was finally born again and admitted into the order 
of the epoptae. 

I think there is reason to believe, that by the easy contrivance of masks 

' Instit of Menu. chap. xii. * Orac. Chal. p. 17. Opsop. 

* Herod. Hist. lib. ii. c. 123. ♦ Ovid. Metam. lib. xv. ver. 165—175. 



148 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

•ooK V. or vizors the aspirants were actually made to exhibit the several forms of 
the animals, into which they were said to be metamorphosed. This opi- 
nion I have already had occasion to express, when discussing the fabled 
birds of Memnon ': and it receives additional strength from a curious pas- 
sage of Porphyry, which seems at once to shew, how distinguished a part 
of the Mysteries the Metamorphosis was considered, and likewise how in 
the celebration of them that Metamorphosis was actually exhibited. 
After stating that the Metempsychosis was an universal doctrine of the 
Persian Magi ; he remarks, with no less ingenuity than truth, that that 
tenet was apparently set forth in the Mysteries of JNIithras. For the Magi, 
wishing obscurely to declare the common relationship of men and animals, 
were wont to distinguish the former by the several names of the latter. 
Hence the men, who were initiated into the Orgies, they denominated 
lio7is; the women, lionesses ; and the ministering priests, ravens. Some- 
times also they styled them eagles and hawks: and, whosoever was initiated 
into these leontic ]\Iysteries, that person was constantly made to assume 
the forms of all sorts of animals. He adds, that Pallas, in his treatise on 
the rites of Mithras, says, that this Metamorphosis was usually thought to 
relate to the different animals of the zodiac : but he intimates, that its true 
origin was to be ascribed to the doctrine of the soul's transmigratory revo- 
lution through the bodies of every kind of bird and beast and reptile. He 
then, after instancing the common practice among the Latins of applying 
to men the names of animals, intimates, that the hierophants were equally 
accustomed to designate the demiurgic hero-gods themselves by parallel 
appellations. Thus they called Diana a she-xvolf; the Sun, a bull or a 
lion or a dragon or a hawk ; and Hecat^, a mare or a cozv or a lioness or 
a hitch. In a similar manner, they denominated Proserpine Pherephatta, 
because the phatta or wild dove was sacred to her : and, as the priests and 
priestesses of the heathen gods ordinarily assumed the names and attri- 
butes of the deities whom they venerated, and as Maia or the great nursing 
mother was the same as Proserpine ; they thence, as we learn from Hero- 
dotus, styled the oracular priestesses of the ship-goddess pigeons. For the 

« Vide supra book iv. c. 5. § XXIX. 3. (6.) 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 149 

same reason, as Porphyry elsewhere teaches us, the ancients called the chap. vi. 
priestesses of the infernal Ceres bees ; because they denominated their 
great goddess the floating Moon a bee, >vhile they bestowed upon Proser- 
pine the epithet of honied. They likewise, as he proceeds to remark, styled 
the Moon a bull: and, since new-born souls were said to be produced out 
of the Moon, since the Moon was called a bull or cozo which was the sym- 
bol of the Theba or lunar ark of Osiris, and since the fable thence origi- 
nated of the generation of bees from the body of a heifer; all new-born 
souls or souls regenerated in the Mysteries were distinguished by the appel- 
lation of bees. It was on account of this doctrine of the transmigratory 
Metamorphosis, as he further informs us, that the initiated were wont to 
abstain from domestic birds ; and that, in the Eleusinian Orgies, birds and 
fishes and beans and pomegranates were strictly prohibited '. It was on 
account of this same doctrine also no_ doubt, that the Buddhists and Pytha- 
goreans have inculcated abstinence from all animal food. And it was still 
on the same grounds, that the Syrians religiously refused to eat doves and 
fishes, because those animals had been the successive forms or vehicles of 
their transmigrating great goddess. 

3. From the foregoing passage of Porphyry, and from the other passages 
•which have been referred to in conjunction with it, it is easy to collect, both 
how the dogma of the Metamorphosis was connected with the Mysteries, 
and how in the celebration of them it was scenically and therefore literally 
exhibited. As the great father was born again from a floating Moon or 
from a wooden ark shaped like a cow ; and as he and his mystic consort 
were feigned to have assumed the forms of all kinds of animals, while pain- 
fully migrating from one World into another : so the souls of the imitative 
aspirants were similarly said to be born again from the Moon or from the 
body of a cow, and were declared to pass successively through the bodies 
of various animals in their progress towards Paradisiacal perfection. 

Now this, we find, was actually exhibited in the Orgies, for Porphyry 
tells uSj that the initiated were clothed in the forms of every sort of animals. 

" Porph. de abstin. lib. iv. § 16. Porph. de ant. nymph, p. 260, 261, 262. Herod. Hist, 
lib. ii. c. 54, 55. 



150 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATKV. 

His phraseology is remarkable": and it seems very clearly to allude to the 
particular mode, in which such metamorphoses were accomplished. By 
means of bestial vizors and garments aptly made out of proper skins, the 
aspirants successively appeared in the characters of whatever animals they 
were appointed to personate : and this was denominated their tra)ismigra' 
tory Metamor'phosis'-. Accordingly, as I have elsewhere observed, the 
Beinbine table exhibits various human figures with the heads of birds or 
of beasts : and, because the priests of Anubis disguised themselves with 
canine masks, the Greeks, who dearly loved the marvellous, invented the 
tale of there being in the upper Egypt a whole tribe of men who had heads 
like that of a dog ^ 

VII. The ancient Mysteries then described the death and regeneration 
of the transmigrating great father, and with it set forth the received phy- 
sical system of an endless succession of similar worlds. The first part of 
them was of a doleful and terrific nature : and this shadowed out the death, 
or descent into hell, or entrance into the lunar ship, or painful purificatory 
passage of the chief hero-god ; together with the universal dissolution of 
the mundane frame, and the reduction of the World to its primeval chaotic 
state. The second part of them was of a joyous and lively nature : and 
this exhibited the revival, or return from hell, or egress from the lunar ship, 
or accomplishment of the purificatory passage from World to World, or 
figurative regeneration, of the same hero-god ; together with his recovery 
of Paradise when on the summit of Ararat he quitted the womb of the now 
stationary Baris, and the production of a new World out of the all-per- 
vading waters which had inundated and destroyed the old World. Such, 
with the addition of the dependent doctrines of the Metempsychosis and 
the Metamorphosis, and with the declaration that at each great mundane 
catastropbt; the universal hermaphroditic parent was left in the solitary 

' 'O Ti tot, ^ECVTlx£e vafxXocj/.0aniif, OTi^iTifierai wanTosawa; ^uwt jjit^tftxi, 

^ Hence originated the notion, that the Hyperborean or Celtic Druids could chango 
themselves into birds. Ovid. Metam. lib. xv. ver. 3.56. 

' In all that Bp. Warburton says respecting the Metempsychosis and the Metamor- 
phosis, he appears- to me to be as much mistaken as he is in his general idea of ths 
Mysteries. 



THE ORIGIN" OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 151 

majesty of demiurgic unity : such were the ancient Mysteries, so far as chap. n. 
they respected the compound personage of whose varied fortunes they pro- 
fessed to give a scenical representation. 

But besides this they held out the offer of a certain wonderful regenera- 
tion, attended with a vast increase of purity and knowledge, to all such, 
as, after undergoing the preparatory austerities, should be duly initiated 
into them. We have now therefore to consider the mode and nature of 
the initiation of the aspirants. This, it will be found, was whoWy imitative; 
a point, which I have already in some measure anticipated, and whicii per- 
fectly harmonizes with the prevailing genius of pagan theology. Whatever 
the great father did or suffered, that also the mimic aspirant professed to 
do and suffer. If the one descended into the infernal regions, and braved 
a passage full of darkness and difficulty : so likewise did the other. If the 
one entered into a sacred cave or floating ark : so likewise did the other. 
If the one was reputed to transmigrate from body to bod\', w hether human 
or bestial: so likewise was the other. If the one was said to be purified 
by his passage from World to World, and at length to land safely in Para- 
dise or the isles of the blessed : so likewise was the other. If the one was 
said to emerge from Hades or to be restored to life or to be born again ; 
so likewise was the other. If the one was indifferently reputed to be born 
again from the door of a rocky cavern, from a stone cell, from the cleft of 
a rock, from a cow, from an ark or boat, from the INIoon, or from the womb 
of the great goddess : so likewise was the other. In every particular in 
short there w as a studied similarity between them : and, as the hierophant 
personated the denjiurgic father, who built the smaller floating World and 
who presided over tlie renovation of each larger World, who was esteemed 
the first Magus or Druid and who as such was represented by every suc- 
ceeding Magus or Druid; so all the initiated claimed, in virtue of their 
initiation, to become one with the god, wliom they adored, and whom they 
recognized as the common ancestor of mankind'. 

VIII. I may now substantiate what has been said, by adducing such 
accounts of the various modes of initiation into the Mysteries as have been 
handed down to us from antiquity. 

' Euseb. Pracp. Evan. lib. iii. 



152 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK V. 1. Here it may be premised, that the ordinary title, by which initiation 
itself was distinguished, was that of a descait into hell: for, as the great 
father was thouglit to have gone down into Hades when he entered into liis 
floating coffin, so every aspirant was made to undergo a similar imitative 
descent. Hence some of the pretended Orphic hymns, that were chaunted 
at the celebration of the Mysteries, bore this identical title; which was 
therefore equivalent to the sacred discourse of the epoptce': and hence 
Virgil, in describing the descent of Eneas, uses the very formula by which 
the hierophaut excluded the profane, and expressly refers to the Orgies of 
the Eleusinian Ceres *. Hence also, in the Frogs of Aristophanes, when 
Hercules tells Bacchus that the inhabitants of Elysium were the initiated, 
Xanthius says, Jtul I am the ass carrying Mysteries, alluding to the cir- 
cumstance of the Typhonian ass being employed to carry the sacred ark 
with its contents; on which the scholiast justly observes, that the Hades 
of the mystae was to be sought for in the Orgies of Eleusis ' : and hence, 
in Lucian's dialogue of the Tyrant, when persons of every condition in life 
are represented as sailing together to the infernal world, JNIycillus exclaims 
to the Cynic, You have been initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries; does 
not our present darkling passage closely resemble that of the aspirants ? 
To which his companion immediately replies. Most undoubtedly'^. 

(1.) Agreeably to such intimations, those ancient writers, who describe 
an initiation, describe it as a descent into hell and as a final escape into- 
Elysium. 

Thus Me find Apuleius saying of himself, / approached the confines of 
death ; and, having crossed the threshold of Proserpine, I at length re- 
turned, borne along through all the elements. I beheld the Sun shining in 
the dead of night with luminous splendor : I sazv both the infernal and the 
celestial gods. I approached and adored them '. Thus also Themistius 
represents an aspirant, as first encountering much horror and uncertainty, 
but afterwards as being conducted by the hierophant into a place of tran- 
quil safety. Entering now into the mystic dome, he is filled with horror 

' Warburt. Div. Leg. b. ii. sect. 4. p. 102. * Virg. iEneid. lib. vi. ver. 258. 

^ Arist. Ran. ver. 357. Schol. in loc. apud Warburton. 

* Luc, Catap. p. SIS. apud Warburton. ' Apul. Metam. lib. xi. apud Warburton. 



THE ORIGIN- OT PAGAX IDOLATRY. 153 

Theba, Argha, and Baris or Baiit : hence the books, which were really pre- 
served in the Jish, were fabled to have been preserved in the ci/i/. 

The town mentioned by Berosus appears to have been situated in the 
neighbourhood of Babylon:' and some place it near mount Sephar, which 
Moses styles n mountain of the east ; though Wells fixes that mountain yet 
rriore eastward, and Bochart places it in Arabia Felix.* Whatever may 
have been the true scite of the hill, it «as, I believe,, an arkite mountain : 
and, likeSippara, it received its name from the sacred antediluvian writings. 
It is probable, that there were several mount Sephars, jubt as there were 
many mountains of the Moon : for, as the descendants of Noah carried 
with them in all directions memorials of the deluge ; so, wherever they set- 
tled, they consecrated the loftiest hill as tlie mountain of that floating lu- 
nette which was thought to have preserved the holy volumes. This humour 
will account for the existence of other cities of the book, as well as the Ba- 
bylonian Sippara: for they, who called themselves &/>//^//7//2 or Book-men, 
were as much attached to their name as the lonim, the Arghim, the Area- 
dim, the Thebim, the Albanim, or the Baritim. One of these biblic cities 
v.e seem to recognize in the town of the Sepharvaim: if indeed it be not the 
same as the Sippara of Berosus; which is rendered probable by the names 
of the other Babylonian cities, mentioned along with it by the author of the 
second book of kings.' Another of them we find in Palestine, within the 
Hmits of the tribe of Judah : for we are told by the writer of Joshua, that, 
in ancient times, Debirwas called Kirjath-Sepher or the city of the book? 
This then was its primitive name : but tho Israelites called it Debir, the im- 
port of which is nearly similar. \Vhat those books were from which it re- 
ceived its appellation, we may collect from its Chaldee name Kirjath-Archi. 
Bochart thinks, that this signifies the city of the archives : but I am rather 
inclined to believe, that it means the city of the Arkim or Arkites, who were 

' Bochart. Phalcg. lib. i. c. 4. p. I'i. 

* Gin. .\. 30. Wells's Geog. of O. Test. part. i. c. iii. sect. 3. § 12. Boch. Phaleg. lib. ii. 
c. 30. p. 144, 145, 146. 

' 2 Kings xvii. 24. Ptolemy calls it Sippkara. See Wells's Geog. of the Old Test. vol. 

ii. p- 91, 92. 

* Josh. XV. 25. See also Judg. i. 11, 12. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. - U 



CHAP. V. 



154 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

KooK HI. Otherwise distinguished by the name of Sepharim.^ It was likewise called 
Kirjaih-Sannah or the city of the Sun:'' for Sr/n, Zan, or Zoaii, was one of 
the oriental names of that luminary ; whence the Greek Zen and the Eng- 
lish 6'mw.' I take it, that the great father was worshipped there in conjunc- 
tion with the Sun : and it is prohable, that the antediluvian writings were 
thought to have been preserved in that town as well as in the Babylonian 
Sippara; for the same spirit of local appropriation, that fixed the appulse of 
the Ark to so many different regions, would claim for as many different cities 
the honour of having preserved the sacred books. It is said, that the word 
Bokhara signifies the country of the book. If this be the case, I should 
have no doubt that the same holy book was still alluded to in the appella- 
tion. The Bactrians were Scythians or Chasas : and their territory forms 
a part of that high mountainous tract, which coincides with the Indian Me- 
ru, and which by the Brahmens is esteemed the land both of Paradise and 
of the Ark. 

2. From these observations we may, I think, venture to conclude, that 
the fable of the sacred books existed prior to the invasion of Palestine by 
tlie Israelites : for, when they made themselves masters of that country, 
they found there a city, which bore the very same appellation as the Baby- 
lonian town, where the sacred writings were thought to have been depo- 
sited before the deluge; and, since the one clearly received its name from 
those writings, the presumption is that the other did also. We may like- 
wise conclude, that Berosus is perfectly accurate in representing the fable as 
known to the Babylonians from the earliest period of their history : because 
we find, that, long previous to the days of Moses, a celebrated mountain 
of the east was known by the name of mount Sephar or the mountain of the 
book. Such appellations plainly refer to the fable ; and therefore prove its 
existence at the time when they were bestowed. But, if the fable be older 

* Bochart. Plialeg. lib. i. c. 4. p.-22. 

* Compare Josh. xv. 15. with ver. 47. 

^ Thus we read of a town called Beth-Shan, because San or the Sun was worshipped in its 
principal beth or temple. 1 Sam. xxxi. 10. I believe, that neither Shan nor Sannah are 
Hebrew words any more than On ; though they haye all been very absurdly translated, as if 
sucb were indisputably the case. 



•THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. }55 

than the time of Moses, I see not what date we can reasonably assign to it '^"*^* ^'■ 
except that of the apostasy at Babel. 

' 3. There is a curious part of the fable, as it is sometimes detailed, which 
yet remains to be accounted for : and the desired explanation will be fur- 
nished by the mythology of Egypt. 

Typhon, though properly the deluge, was occasionally confounded or ra- 
ther identified w ith the god of the deluge. Hence he was sometimes pro- 
nounced the same as Osiris, and denominated Priapus or Peor-Jpis : and 
hence likewise he bore another appellation, vvhich (strictly speakino-) did 
not belong to him. He was called Setk, and by that name was worshipped 
in Egypt under the symbol of an ass.' But Seth, as a masculine title, 
which was variously expressed Set, Siton, Said, Saidi, Soth, Zeuth, Tath, 
and Thoth, was a name of the great father : while Setha, as a feminine title,, 
vvhich was also variously expressed Sita, Saida, Sida, Sidda, Sidee, Siio, 
Shittah, and Titea, was a name of the great mother. From a misprision of 
this appellation, various traditions, which properly belong to the deluge, 
have been strangely misapplied to Seth the son of Adam. Thus, as we 
have seen, Josephus tells us, that the children of Seth were great astrono- 
mers, and that they engraved their discoveries on two pillars in the land of 
Seriad, in order that they might escape the ravages of a deluge either of fire 
or of water : and thus the Mohammedans have a notion, that some of the 
sacred antediluvian writings were composed by Seth. In both these legends, 
Seth, I conceive, is not the son of Adam ; but Menu or Xisuthrus or 
Thoth (as Seth was sometimes written), to whom the sacred books which 
were preserved from the flood are properly ascribed. 

It is worthy of note, that Josephus further informs us, that the pillars of 
Seth were erected near mount Siderus or (as Glycas writes the word) Sidi- 
rus. This is not a Greek name, neither has ic any thing to do with iron. 
Siderus or Sid-Ira was an arkite mountain, one of the high places of the 
great father and the great mother or of the lunar Seth and Sida : hence the 
notion of the writings of Seth being engraved on two pillars, those primeval 

' Plut.de Isid. p. 367. Epiph. adv. Hsr. vol. ii. p. 1093. 



156 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOK III. symbols of Thoth or Hermes, prevailed in its neighbourhood. The votaries 
of Seth called themselves, as was usual, after the name of their god,. Sethim, 
Satim, Settim, or Shittim : and they are those children of Sheth, for the 
worshippers of the great father rightly claimed to be his descendants, whom 
the star of Jacob was destined to destroy or spiritually eradicate, when it 
shoidd smite the corners of Moab.' 

' Numb. xxiv. \7, 



CHAPTER VI. 



Pagan accotmfs of the deluge, as erroneously confined by local 
appropriation to particular regions. 



JXXany, as we have seen, are the traditions of an universal deluge: but, 
in addition to these, the ancient pagans have preserved several of an appa- 
rently more limited description. By an act of local appropriation not diffi- 
cult to be accounted for, they have frequently confined the flood to a parti- 
cular region, and have represented Noah as a very ancient prince of that 
particular region. But, when we find in various parts of the world tales 
of a local flood which at once closely resemble each other and bear a stron" 
general s.iniilitude to the flood of Noah, it appears to me more reasonable to 
conclude, that they are for the most part corrupted narratives of the same 
event, than that they really speak of local deluges posterior in point of time 
to the universal deluge. Yet it is not impossible, that in some cases the 
two may have been blended together, and that the history of the general 
flood may have been ingrafted upon a partial flood. It is not impossible, 
that the Euxine sea, once a lake, may have burst its bounds and poured its 
redundant waters through the cleft of the Bosphorus : it is not impossible,, 
that the Mediterranean sea may, in a similar manner, perhaps in the way 
of cause and effect, have broken for itself a passage into the ocean, and 
have thus discharged the streams whicli it had previously received from the- 



158 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOK HI. Euxine.' But, however this may be, the narratives of such events have 
usually been decorated with circumstances peculiar to the general deluge : 
which indeed was the natural and almost inevitable consequence of an an- 
cient method of symbolizing the Noetic flood. 

In perhaps every region of the world from Hindostan in the east to Bri- 
tain in the west, sacred lakes, sacred tumuli, and sacred islands, were emi- 
nently venerated. The lake typified the deluge : the tumulus represented 
mount Ararat : and the navicular island, sometimes deemed a floating one 
and often (I believe) no other than a large wooden raft covered with turf, 
which reposed on the bosom of the lake, was considered as a fit symbol of 
the Ark. But each of these, agreeably to the complex nature of old my- 
thology, had a yet further reference. The lake shadowed out the pristine 
lake of Paradise, from which issued the four holy rivers. The tumulus ex- 
hibited the mountain of Paradise, which geographically coincided with the 
land of Ararat. And the island was not more a type of the Ark, than of 
the Earth. The former was the Microcosm, the latter the Megacosm, of 
the ancient pagans : and these two Worlds, the smaller and the greater, 
were in idea peipetually blended together, and were ever represented by the 
same hieroglyphics. The Earth, like the Ark, was a ship floating on the 
ocean ; and the mysterious vessel Argo or Argha or Theba indifferently 
symbolized each : the Ark, like the Earth, was a floating world, though a 
world in miniature ; and the two were alike typified by the mundane egg, 
the sacred circle or rotiform inclosure, the aquatic lotos, and the navicular 
island. From such ideas we may deduce the form, which several of the di- 
luvian legends were made to assume. Instead of saying, that the waters 
rushed from the central abyss and overflowed the shell of the earth ; the 
hierophant taught, in the established phraseology of the Mysteries, that the 
lake broke down its mounds, and that the island was submerged beneath 
the waves. 

Now it is obviousj that these speculations would naturally cause the his- 
tory of the Noetic deluge to be attached to any flood which may have beeq 

' Some such convulsion appears to be indicated, in the case of the Euxine, by present na- 
tural phenomena. See Clarke's Travels, vol. i. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 159 

produced by the bursting of the Euxine lake, if indeed such an event ever chap. vi. 
really happened ; more especially when we recollect the generally prevalent 
doctrine of periodical inundations and successive similar worlds. Perhaps 
however it may be thought, that the very converse of this is the truth : that 
the actual bursting of the Euxine lake may have been the cause, why lakes 
became symbols of the deluge ; not that the circumstance of lakes being 
symbols of the deluge caused the history of that event to be attached to the 
bursting of the Euxine. This conjecture, though specious, is certainly un- 
tenable. We find lakes employed to typify the flood in every quarter of the 
globe. The notion therefore is too general to have been borrowed from a 
particular local event. In other words, the existence of the notion must 
have been coeval with the rise of pagan mythology, and must have preceded 
any supposed disruption of the southern bank of the Euxine : consequently, 
it could not have originated from the bursting of that once vast lake. 

In accordance then with the mystic phraseology of the hierophant, we 
are told in various ancient legends, sometimes that an island sank beneath 
the sea : sometimes that a lake broke through its mounds, and overflowed the 
neighbouring country ; and sometimes, by an union of the two ideas, that 
the bursting of the lake was the cause of the submersion of the island. Oc- 
casionally the deluge is represented as being itself universal, though its wa- 
ters flow from a lake situated in some particular country : and it may be 
added, that the Greeks have various stories of partial floods not marked by 
any of these characteristics. 

I. Since the Ark and the Earth were equally typified by an island, and 
since (as we learn from Theopompus) it was an ancient sacred article of 
faith that Europe and Asia and Africa were each an island;' we may natur- 
ally expect, that the submersion of an island would be employed to describe 
the submersion of the Earth at the time of the flood. 

' This matter is said to have been revealed to the Phrygian Midas by Silenus. Theopom, 
apud iElian. Hist. rer. var. lib. iii. c. 18. Virgil, with strict propriety, exhibits Silenus in the 
character of a mystagogue, discoursing learnedly on the wonders of llic creation and the 
deluge. Eclog. vi. 



SO'JK IIT, 



160 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

1 . Of these legends one of the most curious is that of the island At- 
lantis. 

According to Plato, when Solon was in Egypt, a learned priest of that 
country informed iiini, that there was once, at the entrance of the main 
ocean beyond the pillars of Hercules, an island larger than all Asia and 
Africa. The gods dividing the earth an)ong them, this vast island, which 
was called ^tlanti.i, fell to the lot of Neptune. In it that dtity found a 
single man and woman, Euenor and his wife Leucippfe, who sprang from 
the dust of the earth : and he espoused their only daughter Clito, who bore 
to him ten sons. Among these ten children Neptune divided his dominions. 
Atlas was the eldest of them, and gave his name to the island : and he, 
and his posterity after him, long reigned there with much glory and felicity. 
As for the country itself, it was a most delightful region ; and its fertility 
and opulence were never equalled. The inhabitants were remarkable for 
their wisdom and virtue : and the ten princes of its ten provinces, anxious 
to promote the interests of religion, were wont to assemble in each fifth and 
sixtii year alternately, to deliberate on the common weal and to offer sacri- 
fices to the gods. But this original purity of manners was gradually cor- 
rupteil ; the Atlantians became men of blood and rapine; and a lawless am- 
bition instigated them to acts of violence and nggrcssion. Not satisfied with 
possessing a rich and beautiful country, and inflated with tlie pride of un- 
bounded prosperity, they began to attempt the conquest of their neighbours. 
First they subdued Africa and all Europe as far as T^ rrhenia ; and next they 
invaded Egypt and Greece. The Athenians alone resisted, and in the end 
triumphed over them : for Jupiter, enraged at their degeneracy, resolved 
upon their destruction. A tremendous eai thquake took (jiace, and a vast 
inundation followed it. In one night, both tlie warriors who were engaged 
in the conquest of Greece, and the island Atlantis itself, were swallowed up 
by tlje waters. 

The particular manner of the island's submersion was as follows. Tiie 
Mediterranean sea, at that time a large lake w ithout any inlet into the ocean, 
was swelled above its usual level by an extraordinary influx of the great ri- 
vers which disembogue themselves into it. The weight of the waters, as- 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAV IDOLATRY. l6l 

sisted by the earthquake, burst througli the istlimiis which then connected ''"»'"• ■" 
Europe and Africa ; and by their sudden escape overwhelmed those exten- 
sive tracts of land, which once constituted the island Atlantis.' 

As far as I am aide to judge, this curious tradition sufficiently explains 
itself. Indeed even M. Bailly, in the midst of his laborious attempt to 
prove the Atlantians a very ancient northern people far anterior either to the 
Hindoos or the Phenicians or the Egyptians, cites a legend preserved by 
Cosmas Indico-Pleustes, which may additionally serve to teach us, who this 
primitive nation really were. Their claims to superior antiquity are indis- 
putable, though not exactly on the principles of the French philosophist. 
The Atlantians were in fact the antediluvians ; and the submersion of their 
country was no other than the submersion of the old world : hence the tra- 
dition of Cosmas rightly teaches us, that Noah formerly inhabited the island 
Atlantis, hut that at the time of the deluge he was carried in an Ark to that 
continent which has ever since been occupiec^l by his posterity.'' This voy-. 
age of the great father was not from an imaginary island in the Atlantic 
ocean to the eastern continent; but from the old world, the real island At- 
lantis, to that new world which his descendants now inhabit. And with 
this opinion,- whatever be the fate of the legend preserved by Cosmas, the 
whole tradition respecting that supposed maritime region will he found mi- 
iiutely to correspond. 

In the story, as it is told by Plato, the primitive man and woman, sprung 
from the earth, are plainly Adaaj and Eve ; while in ttie ten children of Nep- 
tune, as in the ten patriarchal lords or Pituis of the Hindoos, we recognize 
the ten antediluvian j>atriarchs through the line of Seth. The lawless vio- 
lence of the degenerate Atlantians is the lawless violence of the scriptural 
giants: and the deluge, that overwhelms the country of the former, is the 
deluge, that inundated the old world and swept away the latter. The tic- 
tion of the invasion of Africa and Greece and of the successful resistance 
made by the .Athenians has been patched to the genuine legend from a totally 
different history. It relates, I believe, to those early and violent irruptions 

' rUit. Tim. ful. 2'.;. ct infra. Su-ab. Gco!^. lib. ii. p. 102. 
'' H.iilly's Lcttrcs sue rAllaiitidi-. p.SGl. 

Peg. Idol. VOL. II. X 



162 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. Qf tjjg Scythic or Gothic tribes ; M-hich established the dominion of the Shep- 
herd-kings in Egypt, which founded the empire of the African Ethiopia, 
and wiiich planted the Chasas under the name of Atlantians in the western 
region of Mauritania. From these originated the whole legend of the is- 
land : and they related the fortunes of their antediluvian forefathers in the 
phraseology of those Mysteries, which under Nimrod they first invented at 
Babylon. Hence it is, that we find Atlas and the Atlantians so well known 
in such very dift'crent quarters of the world : the same enterprizing race, 
who were the authors of the daring apostasy in the plains of Shinar, not only 
extended their empire generally over the other descendants of Noah, but like- 
wise in a separate state planted their colonies equally in Africa, in Europe, 
in Phenicia, and in various parts of the interior of Asia." Atlas himself, like 
Cronus and Menu, is the transmigrating great father. The many points of 
resemblance between Adam and Noah produced their systematic deification 
under the same title. Atlas commonly appears as the latter ; and sometimes 
his character melts into that of Enoch, considered as one of the various 
manifestations of Buddha or Menu : but here, as an antediluvian and as the 
eldest of the ten Atlantians, he is certainly the former. We are by no 
means, as I have just observed, to confine him to Africa and the fabled is- 
land Atlantis. The priests of Egypt were well acquainted m ith his history : 
the Phenicians, who were of the same race as the Shepherd-kings, have con- 
spicuously introduced the astronomer Atlas into their mythology : the Greeks, 
who received their theology from the equally Scythic Pelasgi, Phenicians, 
and Pallic Egj'ptians, claimed him as their own, and reported him to have 
been the first king of Arcadia : and the Celts or Hyperboreans, who mi- 
grated from Asia under a Scythic nobility and priesthood, no less asserted 
him to have tenanted their northern country, where in the usual spirit of lo- 
cal appropriation they likewise placed the Paradisiaco-diluvian gardens of 
the Hesperides.' He was famous alike in Britain and throughout the w hole 
east under the name of Idris or Edris or Jtri : and the mountain, on 

' These matters will hereafter be discussed at large, b. vi. c. 2. § I, III, IV, V. c. 3. § VI. 
c. 4, 5. 

* Sanchon. apud Euseb. Pra;p. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. Dion. Italic. .\nt. Rom. lib. i. c. Cl. 
-ApoUod. Bibl.lib. ii. c. 5. J 11. 



THE ORIGIN OK PAGAN IDOLATRY. 165 

which he pursued his astronomical researches, whether situated in Wales or "«*'•*'• 
in Africa or in Cashgar, is but a transcript of the geograpliically coincident 
mountains of Eden and Ararat. 

2. There was another legend of an exactly similar nature respecting the 
island Samothrace, so famous for the Orgies of the Cabiric or diluvian hero- 
gods. 

We are told by Diodorus Siculus, that the inhabitants of that country had 
preserved an account of a great deluge, which once overwhelmed their is- 
land, and which they deemed of higher antiquity than any other local flood. 
It was thought to have been produced by the bursting of the Euxine sea, 
which previously was a large lake." Nonnus represents this deluge as being 
tlie third that had taken place : but Tzetzes informs us, that it was the very 
same as that from which Deucalion escaped ; an opinion, that accords far 
better with the legend of the Samothracians, who considered it as being of 
the very highest antiquity.' If then this flood was the flood of Deucalion, 
it must likewise be the flood of Noah ; or at least, if we suppose that the 
Euxine ever really burst its bounds, a local flootl must have been decorated 
with incidents which belonged only to the general flood : because every part 
of the history of Deucalion clearly proves his identity with the scriptural 
Noah. The Greeks, it is true, claimed Deucalion for themselves, and laid 
the scene of his deluge and of his appulse in Thessaly and on mount Par- 
nassus : but he was likewise feigned to have landed on various other moun- 
tains ; he was reputed to be a Scytliian, as well as a Thcssalian ; and the 
whole story of his escape was preserved with such a degree of accuracy by 
the Hellenic Syrians of Hierapolis, as to leave no room to doubt of his being 
the same as that patriarch. But enough has already been said respecting this 
ancient personage. 

Wiien Samothrace was inundated, the hero-god preserved from destruc- 
tion is said to have been Dardanus : and, as the imagery of the deluge it- 
self, namely the bursting of a lake and the submersion of an island, was 
borrowed from the IMysteries ; so likewise was the peculiar mode of his pre- 

' Diod. Bibl. lib. v. p. 322. 

* Nonii. Dionys. lib. iii. Tzetz. in Lycopli, ver. 72, 73. 



164 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRV. 

BO"K III. scrvation. According to Lycophron and his scholiast Tzetzes, he made his 
escape to the opposite shore of Asia in a leathern coracle, and his voyage is 
compared to the swimming of a wild hoar across the Danube.' Neither of 
these matters are devoid of signification. Aspirants among the Hyperbo- 
rean or Celtic tribes, whose priesthood and nobility at least seem to have 
been of the same faniilv as the Pclasmc or Pallic or Scvthic aborigines of 
Greece, were wont to be initiated into the diluvian ISIvsteries by suffering 
themselves to be inclosed in leathern coracles and thus boldly attempting to 
cross an arm of the sea :' and in those same Orgies the boar and the sow- 
make a very conspicuous figure as sacred symbolical animals; the latter 
clearly typifying a ship which ship Avas the Ark, and the former the hero- 
divinity of that siiip.' Now Samothrace was celebrated for its attachment to 
the Cabiric Mysteries : whence Nonnus and Lycophron represent Darda- 
nus, as abdicating the sceptre of the Cabiri and as leaving the realm of the 
Corybantes, when he escaped from that island.* And these Mysteries were 
the very same as those, which were established among the Celtic tribes : for 
INInaseas, as I have already observed, informs us, that Ceres, Bacchus, and 
Proserpine, were reckoned in the number of the Samothracian Cabiri; Dio- 
nysius asserts, that the Orgies of Bacchus were celebrated in the British 
isles ; and Artcmidorus yet more definitely declares, that in an islet close to 
Britain Ceres and Proserpine were venerated with rites similar to those of 
Samothrace.' The accuracy of such assertions has recently been shewn in 
a very curious manner by Mr. Davies from the remains of the ancient bards 
themselves : whence it appears, that the Druidical worship was in fact the 
Cabiric, and that the gi'eat gods of Samothrace were precisely the same both 
in rites and in character as those of Britain. Accordingly we shall soon 
find, that tiie mode, in which tiie Celtic Brahmens described the flood, mi- 
nutely corresponds with the legends respecting the islands Samothrace and 
Atlantis. 

• Lycoph. Cassand. vor. 72 — 82. Tzctz. in loc. 

"■ Davies's Mythol. of Brit. Druids, p. 161, l6'2, \63. 

' Ibid. p. 42ff, 430. Dissert, on Cabiri, vol. i. p. 220— 224. 

* Nonn. Dionys. HI), iii. I.yc Cass. vor. 78. 

' Mnas. apiid Sthol. in Apoll. Argon, lib. i. ver. yi7. Dionys. Pericg. ver. 565 — i>7i. 
Strab. Geog. lib. iv. p. ]<)8. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 165 

As the former of these islands thus connects itself with the old Druidical «^"*''- ■*'■ 
worship of Britain, on the one hand ; so, on ihe other hand, it no les.-. con- 
nects itself with the famous tradition which details the sinking of the latter 
island. To say nothing of the p^dpal^le similarity of the two legends, the 
submersion of Atlantis by the bursting of the Mediterranean sea and tlie 
submersion of Samothrace by the bursting of the Euxine sea, the fabulous 
Dardanus was himself by reinited descent an Atlantian : wlience it will fol- 
low, that, as the guds of the imaginary island beyond the pillars of Hercules 
are immediately connected with the gods of Egypt, Greece, and Pheni- 
cia ; so are they equally connected with the hero-deities of the Iliensians. 
Dardanus is said to have been the grandson of Atlas ; which is the identical 
relationship of Deonaush to Atri or Idris, the oriental and British Atlas. We 
may conclude therefore, that Dardanus is the same as Deonaush or Dionu- 
sus; who was one of the Samothracian Cabiri, and who was similarly be- 
lieved to have been set afloat on the sea inclosed in an ark. In fact, the 
two names are no less identical than the two persons : for Dar-Danus is Deo- 
naush or Danaus united in composition with Dam, which signifies a Druid 
or Brahmen. There is a story, that Dardanus had already escaped from a 
deluge in Arcadia, the fictitious kingdom of his grandfather Atlas, previous 
to that in Samothrace.' This however is a mere local reduplication of the 
same event. Since Dardanus escaped from the universal deluge of Deuca- 
lion, and since Deucalion alone escaped from that deluge, Dardanus must 
be the same as Deucalion under a different name : in other words, he must 
be Noah ; a conclusion exactly agreeing with that, which recently identified 
him with Deonaush, Dionusus, and Danaus. The whole genealogy in- 
deed of Dardanus is purely mythological : and, in the pretended line of 
the early Trojan kings, it is easy to trace the connection of the Atlantian, 
the Egyptian, the Phenician, the Grecian, the Italian, the Celtic, and the 
Indo-Scythic, superstitions. The descent of this fabulous prince of Arca- 
dia, Samothrace, and Troas, is as follows : Atlas ; Electra, who was es- 
teemed a Pleiad or mystic arkite dove ; Dardanus ; Ilus and Erichthonius ; 
Tros ; Ilus and Assaracus ; Laomedon ; Priam.' Now, as we have already 

' Dionys. llalic. Ant. Rom. lib. i. c. 6\. 

* Tzctz. in Lycoph. vir. 29. Apollod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 11. 



]66 THE ORIGIN or PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. seen, Atlas was celebrated throughout the whole world ; and was placed, 
even by name, both in the island Atlantis, in Arcadia, in Phenicia, and in 
the north of Europe among the Hyperborean Celts. His daughter Electra, 
though she bore Dardanus to Jupiter, is said to have been the wife of Co- 
ritus king of Hetruria, by whom she was also the mother of Jasius or Ja- 
sion. This Jasion is fabled, in one legend, to have been slain by Darda- 
nus in a quarrel respecting the succession to the kingdom of Hetruria, who 
was thereupon banished from Italy; whence he migrated to Samothrace, and 
afterwards synchronically with the flood of Deucalion to Troas. But, in 
others, he is represented, as the own brother of Dardanus ; as the consort 
of Cybelfe or the great mother ; as the parent by Ceres, who is equally the 
great mother, of Plutus, who (according to Cicero, Fulgentius, and Julius 
Firmicus) is the same as Pluto or the infernal Osiris ; as the father of the 
Samothracian Cabiri ; as having been struck with lightning for attempting the 
chastity of Ceres, and yet as the favourite and husband of that goddess 
and as the first agriculturist; as translated to heaven ; and as the father-in- 
law of the Cilician Theba or the Ark, in consequence of her allegorical 
nuptials with his son Corybas.' As for Ilus, there is a legend of his being 
conducted by a cow to the scite of Ilium so precisely resembling the legend 
of the foundation of the Bcotian Thebes by Cadmus, that it is impossible to 
doubt of their origination from a common source.* Tliat source, so far as 
the Greeks and Ilicnsians are concerned, was probably Phenicia and Egypt: 
both because Cadmus is brought from each of those countries into Beotia; 
because in Egypt and Syria a cow was called Tkcba, aa- being a symbol of 
the Ark ; and because Ilus was himself a Phenician deity, the same (ac- 
cording to Sanchoniatho) as Cronus, and the brother of that very Atlas 

' Virg. /Encicl. lib. iii. vcr. l63 — 170. Scrv. in loc. Conon. Narrat. x.\i. Dior]. Bibi. lib. 
V. p. 323, 31-3. Strab. Gcog. lib. vii. p. 331. C'li'in. Alex. Cohort, p. 21. Nonni Dionys. 
lib. V. .AiJKn. Dtipnos. lib. xiii. p. 566. Schol. in Thcoc. Idyll, x. ver. 19. Cicer. de nat. 
dto«-. lib. ii. c. 2(). Fulgcn. Mythol. lib. i. c. 4. Jul. Firm, de error, prof. rcl. p. IJ. Tactz. 
in Lycopli. ver. 29- The Cilician Thcba was the daughter of Cilix the brother of Cadmus, 
who himself founded the Beotian Thebes, being conducted to it by a 1 heba or heifer. The 
story is fundamentally the same in both cases; and one character is set forth to us under the 
name of Theha. 

*Tzetz. in Lycoph. ver. 29. Apollod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 11. J 3. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 167 

whom the Greek fable exhibits as his remote progenitor.' But we are not c"*'"-^"- 
to confine Ilus either to Phciiicia or Troas. Ila occurs in the mytliolojiy of 
Hindostan, both as a mascuHne and a feminine name. The male 11a is the 
great father; and the female Ila is the great mother. Tlie latter was the 
daughter and wife of Ila or Buddha or INIenu-Satyavrata, who m as preserved 
in an ark from the waters of an universal deluge. Her name, as I have 
elsewhere observed, denotes the JVoiid : she w as at once a personification of 
the Earth and the Ark : and the imaginary circle of hills on the summit of 
"the Paradisiaco-diluvian Meru, whicii was copied by the circular temples of 
the Druids and which equally represented the Microcosm and the IVIcoracosm 
of old mythology, was termed from her Ida-vratta or Ila-vratta, that is to 
say, the circle of Ila. Hence as Meru was the Olympus or Ilapu of the 
Hindoo arkite gods ; so was Ida, itself denominated Olympus, of the Ilien- 
sian:' and the names both of Ilium and of its reputed founder Ilus were 
borrowed alike from the Mysteries of Ila or Theba or the bovine Ark. The 
whole in short of the early history of the Iliensians can only be deemed 
mythological : and the true key to the interpretation of it is afforded by the 
legend of Dardanus and the Samothracian deluge. 

3. Sometimes we find the submersion of a city substituted for that of an 
island ; because a city, surrounded by a wall, was equally deemed typical of 
the sacred circle of the World: hence the fabled circle of Ila on the summit of 
Meru uas likewise called either the citi/ of Ila or the city of Brahma ; and 
hence the Druids indifferently used the word Caer to describe both a city and 
the inclosure of Sidi or Stonehenge. Still however it is usually, in some 
manner or another, connected either with an inundated island or with an 
inundating lake. 

Of such a nature is the Greek legend of Orchomenus. There were four 
cities, w liich bore this name : and the most ancient w as styled Miiiyean. ' 
This, along with some other towns, was thought to have been swallowed up 
by a flood in the time of Cecrops : and a pool or chabm was shewn near the 

' Euseb. Praep. E\an. lib. i. c. 10. 

* Strab. Geog. lib. x. p. 470. 

' Strab. Gcog. lib. viii. p. 338. lib. ix. p. 4l6. Plin. Nat. Hijt. lib. iv. c. X. 



168 THE ORlCirX OF PAGAN IDOLATUr. 

more modern town of the same name, in which the waters were said to have 
been lost, and into which the river IMelas still continued to empty itself.' 

The v\hole connection of the present legend sufiiciently shews, whence it 
orisiiuated. Orchomenus, from whom the submerged city was thought to 
have received its name, is said by the Greeks to have been the son of that 
Lycaon, whose daring wickedness produced the general deluge. This delu"-c, 
which occurred in the days of Orchomenus and his brother Nuctimus, 
was the same as that of Deucalion :' consequently, it was the same as that 
from which Dardanus escaped, when Samothracc was inundated by the 
supposed eruption of the Euxinc. Orchomenus is fmther said to be the 
father of IVlinyas, the general progenitor of the Minyce or Argonauts : but 
Tzetzes tells us, that they were so called, because they came from the city 
Orchomenus sirnamed the Mlnyean.^ In the import of these two traditions 
there is no difference ; they both relate to the deluge. The history of the 
ship Argo is a perverted history of the Ark : and the fabulous Argonauts 
were called Minyce from Menu, one of the most common appellations of 
Noah. Orchomenus himself, as well as his imagined contemporaries Dar- 
danus and Deucalion, is evidently, as appears from every circumstance of 
his legend, no other than the same patriarch. The Greeks indeed claimed 
him as a countryman of their own ; and pretended, that the city whicli lie 
founded was swallowed up by a flood: hence, as was their custom, they so 
modified his name as to give it an Hellenic aspect. But neither the mytho- 
logical Orchomenus himself, r.or yet (a^ we may therefore conclude) his 
appellation, was of Greek original. Nonnus tells us, that he was a Pheni- 
cian (consequently an Indo-Scythic) deity; that he was coeval with Tetliys 
and Oceanus; and that he was worship[;ed on mount Lebanon in conjunc- 
tion with a Star. He also describes him as being contemporary with the 
nvmph Bcroe, the Beruth of Sanchoniatho, and the Buris or Argo of 

' Sliah. Gcoc. lib. ix. p. 407. Liician mi-ntions a similar tradition respicting a thasm in 
the iiiiilst of llif Icmple of tho Syrian gndrlcss, which was supposed to have rco.'ivfd the rclif- 
iii;; w-alcrs of Deucalion's flood. 

* Apollod. Bibl. lib. iii.c. S. f 1, 2. Ovid. Mctam. lib. i. 

' Anton. Liber. Metani. c. x. Apoll. Argon, lib. i." vcr. 229. Tzctz. in Lycoph. ver. 874. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN' IDOLATKY. 16y 

Egypt.' From Phenicia therefore both his legend and his name must '^"•"•'^'• 
have been brought into Greece, most prol)abIy by the Cadinonitcs and the 
Hermonites; as they were originally brought into Phenicia from the Indian 
Caucasus by the Cuthic ancestors of the Plienicians. He seems to have 
been the same as Remphan, Chiun, or Saturn; whose star was so famous in 
oriental mythology: and I take him to have been the corresponding male 
divinity to Astoreth or Astartfe; whom Sanchoniatho similarly connects with 
a star, and who in fact is no other than Beroe oi Baris or Theba. Mount 
Lebanon, as the name imports, was one of the sacred mountains of Lebanah 
or the j\Ioon : but this symbolical Moon was the Ark elevated to the sphere 
under the hieroglyphic of the navicular lunette ; and Lebanon, where it was 
worshipped, was a copy of that Armenian mountain, on which the Ark rested 
after the deluge. Orchomenus, in short, whom the Greeks rightly placed 
at the era of Deucalion's flood, was Noah : and his name, I apprehend, was 
pronounced by the Phenicians of Lebanon, just as they received it from their 
Indo-Scythic ancestors, Orcha-Afenu or Argha-Menu ; a title, which denotes 
Menu of the Argha. He was the same as their maritime Arcles or Argh- 
Ila ; which is a name of exactly similar import, for Menu and the masculine 
Ila were one. This personage the Greeks styled Heracles, and the Latins 
Hercules, though without forgetting his real character ; for they supposed him 
to have sailed upon the ocean in one of tliose large navicular cups, which from 
the ship Argha the Hindoos denominate Arghas.'' 

Thus it is easy to discern the import of the tradition, respecting the sup- 
posed submersion of the ancient city Orchomenus and the lake or chasm 
near the more modern city of that name. But it is worthy of notice, that 
the legend goes on to introduce the inundation of an island. A certain 
wicked race of men, denominated Phlegyce, are said to have anciently come 
out of the land of Minyas and in the pride of their heart to have quitted tiie 
city of Orchomenus. They afiervvards settled in an island : and at length 
Neptune, enraged at their impiety, overwhelmed them with the waters of the 
sea.' 

' Nonni Dionys. lib. xli. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. v. c. 21. Allien. Deipno-. lib. xi. p. iGp. ApoUo'd. Bibl. lib. ii. 
c. 5. # 10. 

' Paus. Baot. p. 597- Nonni Dionys. lib. xviii. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. Y 



170 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

4. Stories of a similar description entered largely into the mythology of the 
old Celtic Druids : and traditions of the submersion of cities beneath the 
various lakes of the country are still current throughout the whole of Wales. 
The annotator upon Camden mentions the names of no less than six lakes, 
in which ancient cities are reported to have been drowned. ' One of these 
is Llyn Savaddan in Brecknockshire. To this day the old legend of its ima- 
ginary formation is not forgotten: and it is most curiously and deeply tinged 
with the mythological notions of other times, which prevailed over so large 
a portion of the globe. Some of its incidents, as related by an old man in 
the town of Hay, are thus detailed by Mr. Davies. 

The scite of the present lake was fonnerlxf occupied by a large city ; but 
the inhabitants xvere reported to be very wicked. The king of the country 
sent his servant to examine into the truth of this rumour, adding a threat, 
that, in case it should prove to be well founded, he would destroy the place as 
an example to his other subjects. The minister arrived at the town in the 
evening. All the inhabitants were engaged in riotous festivity and wallow- 
ing in excess. Not one of them regarded the stranger, or offered him the 
rites of hospitality. At last he saw the open door of a mean habitation, into 
which he entered. The family had deserted it to repair to the scene of tu- 
mult, all but one infant, xvho lay weeping in the cradle. The royal favourite 
sat down by the side of this cradle; soothed the little innocent; and zvas 
grieved at the thought, that he must perish in the destruction of his abando?ied 
neighbours. In this situation the stranger passed the night : and, whilst 
he was diverting the child, he accidentally dropped his glove into the cradle. 
The next morning he departed before it zcas light, to carry his melancholy 
tidings to the king. He had but just left the tfftvn, when he heard a noise 
behind him like a tremendous crack of thunder mixed zvith dismal shrieks 
and lamentations. He stopped to listen. Noxo it sounded like the dashing 
of zvavcs : and presently all zvas dead silence. He could not see what had 
happened, as it was dark, and he felt no inclination to return into the city : 
so he pursued his journey till sun-rise. The morning was cold. He searched 
for his gloves ; and, finding but one of them, he presently recollected where 

' Gibson's Camden, ceil. 706. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 171 

he had left the other. These gloves had been a present from his sovereign. 
He determined to return for that, which he had left beJiind. IV hen he was 
come near to thescite of the town, he observed nith surprise that none of the 
buildings had presented themselves to his view as on the preceding day. He 
advanced a few steps. The whole plain was covered with a lake. JVhilst he 
was gazing at this novel and terrifc scene, he remai^ked a little spot in the 
middle of' the zvater. The wind gently wafted it towards the bank whei-e 
he stood. As it drezv near, he recognized the identical cradle, in which he 
had left his glove. His joy on receiving this pledge of royal javour was only 
heightened by the discovery, that the little object of his compassion had reach- 
ed the shore alive and unhurt. He carried the infant to the king ; and told 
him, that this zvas all which he had been able to save out of that wretched 
place. ' 

Mr. Davies remarks, that this nan'ative evidently contains the substance 
of one of those tales, which are called Mabinogion, that is, tales for the 
instruction of youth in the principles of Bardic mythology : and it seems to 
have for its object a local and impressive commemoration of the destruction of 
a profligate race by the waters of the deluge. I think him perfectly in tlic 
right : for, in all countries, mythology has been the substratum of romantic 
fiction ; which, gradually banished from the hall, has at length found refuge 
in the nursery. But the preceding legend deserves more than this single ob- 
servation. In it we find the great patriarch, represented as an infant floating 
in a cradle or small ark on the waters of an inundating lake. It is most cu- 
rious to note, how faithfully this ancient mythological idea has been handed 
down even to the present age. The egress from the Ark being esteemed a 
birth from the great universal mother, Noah was thence naturally considered 
as an infant : and, as the Ark was deemed his coffin when he was viewed as 
dying to the antediluvian world, so it was equally deemed his cradle when he 
was viewed as born into the postdiluvian world. It was under such impres- 
sions, that the Egyptians represented the god Helius, or Noah elevated to 
the solar orb, as an infant sitting in the calix of the aquatic lotos, which by 
them as well as by the Hindoos was thought an apt symbol of the ship 

' .Mythol. ot" r>rit. Druids, p. 146, 147. 



172 TH£ ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

Argha:" and it was under similar impressions, that the Druids of Britain 
composed the preceding fable. 

5. The destruction tlien of the old world by the deluge being represented 

under the image, either of an island or a city, inundated or swallowed up, by 

a lake ; and that destruction being likewise very commonly supposed to have 

been partly effected by the agency of tire : it is easy to perceive, in what 

light the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the production of the 

Dead Sea, would be considered by those ; whose mythology was eminently 

founded on the doctrine of a succession of floods, general or particidar, 

igneous or aqueous, all of which are equally denominated by the Hindoos 

Pralaya. The close analogy between the destruction of tlie antediluvian 

world and that of the cities of the plain is pointed out by Christ himself: ' 

and it was from this resemblance, as I have already observed, that the 

righteous Abraham, who was the tenth after the flood as Noah was the tenth 

after the creation, and who lived contemporaneously with the latter pralaya 

as Noah did with the former, was called by the Phenicians Ilus or Cronus. 

The very names of Sodom or Sedam and of Siddim or Seddim, as the 

vale was heretofore called which now forms the bed of the asphaltite lake, 

serve to point out the mode of idolatrous worship which prevailed in the 

subverted cities. The inhabitants of them venerated the great father and 

the sreat mother under the titles of Sed or Seth and Siddi or Sila : and, 

from the plural form of the word Siddim, we may collect, that they adored 

the hero-gods generally under the appellation of Siddim, as others did under 

tliose of Baalim or Titans or Cabiri. They greedily adopted all the gross 

ol)scenities, which prevailed in the worship of Seth or Baal-Pcor: and to 

these they added those last abominations, which were religiously practised 

in consequence of the doctrine, that inseparably united the great generative 

father and the great generative mother in the single character of the great 

hermaphroditic parent. ' This compound being, at once the male and female 

' Pint, de Isid. p. 355. 

^ Liikuxvii. 26—30. 

' The occurrence of the title Sid or Set, Sida or Sita, in so many different regions of the 
globe, as an appellation either of the great father or the great mother or the androgynous divi- 
nity composed by the vinion of the two, seems to indicate the very high antiquity of its 



THf. ORIGIN or VAGAN IDOLATKY. 173 

principle of the Universe, the arrhenothelyc Zeus of the Orphic theology and 
tlie Ardha-nari of the Hindoos, was practically served by his wretched vota- 
ries in such a manner as they deemed most consentaneous to his fabled cha- 
racter; an awful instance of the deep depravity into which speculative man 
may sink, when he prefers his own inventions to the pure behests of revela- 
tion. 

ori"in : for, unless we suppose it to have been used even prior to the dispersion from Babel, 
it will be no easy iniittcr to account for tlic almost universal adoption of it. 

As previiiling througliout Palestine, we find a frequent reference to it both in protimc and 
sacred writers. Justin at once mentions it, and gives us what I have no doubt was its real 
import. He tells us, that Sidon was so called from Sidun which in the Phenician language 
bignifies a Jish : and to this day the city bears the name of Said, which is plainly the first 
half of the compound word Sid-On or Said-On. The historian fancies, that it received its 
appellation from the abundance of fish which was caught there (Just. Hist. Phil. lib. xviii. c. 
3.): but this is a mere gloss of his own, which the curious fragment of Sanchoniatho suffici- 
ently proves to be erroneous. That writer informs us, that the fish-god Dagon, so highly 
venerated by the Scythic Philistim and their brethren the Phenicians, was likewise called 
Sitoa : and he adds, that this people also worshipped a goddess named Sidon, who was es- 
teemed a mermaid, and who was thought to have been born out of the sea (Euseb. Pra'p. Evan, 
lib. i. c. 10.). It was from the god and goddess Siton or Sidon then, not from the abun- 
dance of fish viewed as an article of food, that the city of Sidon received its distinctive appel- 
lation: and it was from the similar worship of the hermaphroditic fish-god, that one of the 
submerged cities of the plain borrowed its cognate name of Sodom or Sedom. As a goddess 
of the sea, Sidon was sometimes adored under the feminine title of Saida or Sitta. Hence we 
read of the towns of Bcth-Saida and Beth-Sitta; each of which, like Beth-Dagon or Beth- 
BaaJ, certainlj received its name from a belh or temple of the fish-goddess (Matt. .\i. 21. Judg. 
vii. 22.). So again, as the principal hermaphroditic hero-god was wori^hipped by the appella- 
tion of Sad or Sid or Sit, the younger hero-gods with their great [uuent lit their head were 
venerated under the plural title of Sadim or Siddim ; a name formed from the singular Sad 
or Sid, just as Baalim h formed from Baal. Hence we read of the idolatrous Israelites sacri- 
ficing their children to the Sadim, who are represented as being the false gods of the Canaanitcs 
(Deut. xxxii. l6, 17. Psalm cvi. 35—38.): hence we find a sacred vale of the Siddim, in 
the immediate neighbourhood of Sodom and Gomorrha (Gen. xiv. 8.); and hence, in the 
plains of Moab where the impure rites of Sclh or Baal-lVor eminently prevailed, we meet 
with a place called Sittim or Abil-Sittim (Numb. xxv. 1. xxxiii. 49-). This last remarkable 
compound distinctly points out to us llie nature of these Sittim or Baalim. ylbcl-Sittim denotes 
the mourning of the Sittim: and that mourning was the same as the mourning for the dead 
Osiris or Adonis. Accordingly, it is alluded to by the Psalmist in the account, which he 



ClIAF. \l. 



174 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. 'pi^g peculiar punishment of the abandoned Sodomites, who appear to have 

carried their religious enormities to a greater length than their brethren in any 
other part of the world, was not, I apprehend, aibitrarily selected by the 
Supreme Being ; but was chosen, as speciality testifying his abhorrence of 

gives us, of the doleful though lascivious Orgies of the principal Sit divinity Baal-Pcor: he 
tells us, that the Israelites, while celebrating them, cat the oflFerings of the dead (Psalm cvi. 
28.). The original word, translated Me dead, is in the plural number: so that what the 
apostates eat were the offerings made to the dead Sadim or mystically defunct hero-gods; and, 
during this part of the ceremony, that mourning took place for the ark-inclosed Osiris and 
his seven companions, which gave occasion for the name o( Abel-Sittim. 

If from Palestine we pass into Egypt, we shall again find the title Se(h used in the same 
manner. Typhon, who ultimately blends himself with Osiris and Baal-Peor, was called 
Set/i : Osiris was denominated Sothi : and the Isis or Neith, who was worshipped at Sais or 
Said, was distinguished by the feminine name of Saida (Plut. de Isid. p. 367, 375. Epiph. 
adv. hsr. lib. iii. p. 1093.). 

If we next proceed to India, still the same title will present itself to our notice. As the 
Dagon of the Philistim was likewise called Sit on ; so the Dae of their Cuihic brethren in 
Thibet yet bears the title of Sati : as the Derccto of the Syrians was worshipped also, as the 
sea-nymph Sidon or Sitta; so the Durga or Isi of Hindostan is described by the name of 
Sita or Sati, as comprehending within her womb the whole family of the hero-gnds : and, 
as the mystically dead arkitc divinities were by the Canaanites denominated Sirfrftm; so the 
spirits of deified mortals are by the Buddhists of the sect of Jain yet styled Siddhas (La 
Croze p. 491. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. X77 . vol. ix. p. 280. Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 107, lOS.). 

If we return step by step to the utmost limits of the west, we shall equally find the great 
father and the great mother venerated under the same ancient appellation. The consort of the 
god Belus, the Bali of Hindostan, the Bel of Babylon, and the Baal of Palestine, is said to 
have been called Sida ; in other words, she is said to have borne the identical name of the 
goddess who was worshipped at Beth-Saida and Beth-Sitta (Cedren. apud Seld. de diis Syr. 
synt. ii. c. 4. p. 220.): the primeval king and father of the Gothic Thracians was 5j///jn, 
whence the whole region of Thrace was denominated Sithonia (Ovid. Met. lib. vii. ver. 4,66. 
Herod. Hist. lib. vii. c. 122. Lycoph. Cass. ver. 583, I161.): the Ceres (if the Syracusians 
was revered by the title of Sitn (Athen. Deipnos. lib. iii.) : and the Hu and the Ceridwen of 
the Druids were known also under the appellations of Saidi and Sidi (Davies's Mythol. p. 

197, 199, 2J.2, 292, 557.). 

In all these cases, we find the same persons venerated under the same names. The great 
father and the great mother were viewed as a merman and a mermaid : hence, in allusion to 
their emblematical forms, they were distinguished by titles ; which, in the old dialect of the 
Cuthic Phenicians, the descendants of those Nimrodian Cutliim who first introduced idolatry 
into the postdiluvian world, denoted, we are told, a fish. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 175 

tliat idolatry, whicli originated at Babel and which thence diffused itself to 
every quarter of the globe. As they were devoted to those Mysteries, which 
taught a succession of floods both of fire and of water ; and as they impurely 
venerated that twofold principle, by the agency of which the world was 
thought to be firom time to time regenerated : they were so far punished upon 
their own system, as was consistent with the oath of God that the earth should 
not be again destroyed by a deluge of water ; an oath, the more carefully 
recorded by Moses, as directly contradicting the fundamental theory of Pa- 
ganism. A flood of liquid fire inundated their cities : the plain, where they 
hadstood, became a spacious inland sea : and, instead of anv happy renova- 
tion being accomplished by the two fructifying principles, a once fertile land, 
fertile as the garden of Paradise, ' w as visited with the curse of perpetual 
sterility. 

Agreeably to these remarks, the lake of Sodom Avas viewed as an eminent 
symbol of the deluge by the neighbouring idolaters. This, if I mistake not, 
we may gather from various particulars. As the waters of the flood were 
fabled to be of a poisonous nature, as lakes were esteemed natural hierogly- 
phics of the flood, and as the dove sent out by Noah was unable to find 
any resting place ; a notion arose, that no birds could fly over the sacred 
typical lakes. Such was the idea entertained of the lake Avernus, near 
which there was supposed to be a passage to the infernal regions : such also 
was the idea entertained of many of the British lakes. Now there was prcr 
cisely the same mythological fiction respecting the potency of the Dead Sea ; 
which may therefore be reasonably inferred to have originated from the same 
cause. This inference will be strengthened, if we attend to the peculiarities 
of the principal river which flows into it. The Dead Sea was the Avernus 
or Acherusian pool of the Canaanites and their neighbours : and the Jordan 
was the sacred river of their theology ; just as the Styx, the Nile, tiie Ganges, 
the Euphrates, the Po, or the Danube, were the sacred streams of the same 
theological system, as professed in other countries. Hence the lofty range 
of mountains, from which it springs, bore tiie name of Lebanon or the moun- 
tain of the Moon : the country, through which it first flows, was denomi- 

' Gen, xiii. 10. 



CHAP. \i. 



17G THE ORIGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 

nooK III. nated Argob ; which signifies the hind of the serpent god of the Jrgfiu : 
near its source, and skirting tiie territory of the Cadinouites, was mount 
Herinon; so called from Hermes or Ilermaya, one of the titles of Buddha 
or Menu, as tlic C'adnionites received their appellation from Cadtim or Co- 
dom, another title of the same deity: and the river itself was designated by a 
name, which denotes the river of Dauaus or Deonaush ; agreeably to tlie 
Indo-Scythic legend, that Deonaush travelled over the vvhole world, and 
communicated his title to all the principal rivers both of Europe and of Asia 
and of Airica.' 

II. The proper and complete form of the traditions which we are now 
considering, a form borrowed from the language of the Mysteries, I take to 
have been this : a lake or inland sea bursts its bounds and overfioxvs an islatid; 
by which was shadowed out the eruption of the waters of the abyss, and the 
consequent submersion of the earth. But, as a city was sometimes substi- 
tuted for an island, so the sea itself is occasionally substituted for the lake : 
and there are instances again, in which the bursting of a lake is said to have 
produced a general deluge or a particular inundation, while no mention is 
made of the sinking of an island. 

1. One of these stories I have already had occasion to notice from its con- 
nection with Orchomcnus and thence with the flood of Deucalion and Dar- 
danus. We are told by Nonnus, that formerly a certain island inhabited by 
llic impious Phlegyas was violently torn up from the roots by the marine 
deity Neptune, and plunged with its vvhole population beneath the waves of 
the sea. * If we inquire who these Phlegjas were, we are informed that they 
were a branch of the Minyas or Orchomenians, and that they had separated 
themselves from their brethren : in other words, they had separated them- 
selves, through a mad fool-hardiness, from those more righteous Minya; or 
children of Menu, w ho were the navigators of the sacred ship Argo. ' After 

' Jor-Dan, or the river of Dan, is a word of ihe same origin as Dnnavi or Danube, Tanu'is, 
Tunis by which appellation one of the outlets of the Nile was distinguished, and Eri-Dan 
which signifies the lunar Dan. It was from this Dan, not from the patriarch so called, that 
the town of Dan received its appellation. Accordingly, it is mentioned even in the days of 
Abraham, long biforc the patriarch Dan was born. Sec Gen. xiv. 14. 

* Nonni Dionys. lib. xviii. 

' I'aus. Baeot. p. 597- 



THE OUTGIV OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 177 

this separation, while some of the Minyae were safely wafted over the deep c"*^'--*»- 
in that Argo or Argha whicli (according to the Hindoo mythology) floated on 
the waves of the universal deluge ; others of them, who bore the additional 
name of Phkgyce, were suddenly overwhelmed by the waters on account of 
their Mickedness. Such a legend, so far as I can judge, sufficiently explains 
itself. 

As for Phlcgyas, the supposed father of the Phlegyae, he is said by the 
Greeks to have been the son of !Mars and Chrysa the Beotian, who was the 
daughter of Almus. ' We learn however from Phavorinus, that he was not 
a Greek, but an Ethiopian or Cuthite ; and that he and another personage, 
called Mitliras, were chiefly instrumental in introducing that mystic worship 
of the gods which commenced in Ethiopia or the land of Cush. ' This fable 
merely serves to shew, that the Cabiric Orgies originated from that wide- 
spreading family die Cushim of Nimrod, or (as the Hindoos call them) the 
Cliasas or Chusas. The Ethiopia, within the limits of which they were first 
celebrated, was the Asiatic, not the African, Ethiopia. By the Hindoos it 
is denoniinattd Ciisha-clxvip ziithin, in contradistinction to the African Cusha 
or Cusha dwip xvithoiii : and it included Babel and the whole laud of Shinar. 
The very name indeed of Mithras, the companion of Phlegyas, teaches us, 
that we must look, not to Africa, hut to Asia, for the origination of the 
Mysteries. If ever there were literally such persons as Phlegyas and Mithras, 
distinct from the pretended first hierophant Noah, they were most probably 
Brahmens or INIagi ; the latter of whom had assumed the title of liis god 
JMithras, agreeably to a practice very common among the votaries of the 
great father and the great mother. Phlegyas himself appears to have been a 
character sustained in the celebration of the Mysteries, which was designed 
to represent that of the great preacher of righteousness. His office was 
gravely to admonish the initiated, that they should practise justice and vene- 
rate the gods. Virgil accordingly ascribes this function to him in that part 

' Paus. Baeot. p. 597. Apoll. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 5, § 5. 
* Phavor. apud Stcpli. Byzant. de Urb. p. 6o. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. Z 



178 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

of the Eneid, which has been thought, and (I behove) rightly thouglit, to 
shadow out the ancient ]\Iysteries. ' 

Tlie connection of the Ethiopian Phlegyas with the Mithratic Orgies and 
thence with the deluge is intimated not obscurely, both by his special union 
with Mithras or a priest of Mithras, and by a circumstance in his history 
which the Greeks have preserved and related after their own manner. Coro- 
nis, the daughter of Phlegyas, was the motlier of Esculapius by Apollo. 
The raven falsely accused her of infidelity ; upon which the god slew her in 
a fit of jealousy : but, afterwards discovering his error, he changed the colour 
of the raven from white to black by way of punishment for his malicious 
misrepresentation.' This fable is wholly founded on a perversion of a 
part of the Mysteries. The solar Apollo of the Greeks was the solar 
Mithras of the Persians : the raven was esteemed equally sacred to them 
both : and certain priests of ISIithras were from that bird denominated ravens 
and holy ravtns.^ Yet, in allusion to the circumstances which preceded 
the egress of Noah from the Ark, the raven, though a sacred bird, was 
ever esteemed an ill-omened carrier of bad news : while the dove, from 
which the arkite priestesses were themselves called doves, was reckoned 
highly propitious.* 

With respect to Esculapius, he was a Phenician or Indo-Scythic deity : 
and the whole both of his history and genealogy relates immediately to the 
deluge. He was worshipped in BerytuS; so called from the ship Barit or 
Baris : his mother Coronis was the Cor or sacred arkite circle of the solar 
On : like Attis or Bacchus, he was beloved by the great mother of the dilu- 
vian hero-gods, whom the Phenicians called Astarle or Jstoreth, by Da- 
niascius written hellenistically Asironoe : and he was esteemed the youngest 
of the Cabiric ogdoad, and the son of Sydyk or the just man ; whence San- 

' So I understand /Eneid. lib. vi. ver. 6l8, 619. Phlegyas, not Theseus, clearly seems to 
inc to be the monitor: for why should Theseus, rather than any other person, admonish the 
Phlegyae; and why should the Pblegyae, already condemned, be fruitlessly admonished ? 

* Apoll. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 10. § 3. 

^ Coraces and Hierocoraces. Myrsii. apud Antig. Caryst. Mirah. Hist. c. xvii. Banier's 
Mythol. vol. i. p. 289. 

♦ Herod, lib. ii. c. 54—57. 



^ 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 179 

choniatho informs us, that he was denominated Esmuni or the eighth. ' <^"*''' ^!- 
Thus in every way is the submersion of the Phlegyan isle connected with the 
deluge. 

2. Nor is such a mode of describing the ruin of the primitive world con- 
fined to the west : the Chinese relate, in a very similar manner, the preser- 
vation of the virtuous Peiruun and the sinking of the island Alaurigasima, 
which may well be styled the Atlantis of the eastern hemisphere. 

Maurigasima, says Kaempfer, was an island famous in former ages for 
the excellency and fruitfulness of its soil, which afforded among the rest a 
particular clay exceedingly proper for the viaking of' those vessels which now 
go by the name of Porcellane or China ware. The inhabitants vcfy much 
enriched themselves by this manufacture : but their increasing zvealth gave 
birth to luxury and contempt of religion ; which incensed the gods to thai 
degree, that by an irrevocable edict they determined to sink the whole island. 
Hozvever the then reigning sovereign, whose name was Peiruun, being a very 
virtuous and religious Prince, no ways guilty of the crimes of his subjects, 
this decree of the gods was revealed to him in a dream : wherein he was com- 
manded, as he valued the security of his person, to retire on board his ships 
and to fee from the island, as soon as he should observe, that the faces of 
the two idols, which stood at the entry of the temple, turned red. So press- 
ing a danger impending over the heads of his subjects, the signs whereby 
they might know its approach, in order to save their lives by a speedy fight, 
he caused fort hzoith lo be made public : but he xcas only ridiculed for his 
zeal, arid grezv contemptible to his subjects. Some titne after, a loose idle 
fellow, further to expose the king's superstitious fears, went one night, 
nobody observing him, and painted the faces of both idols red. The next 
morning notice was given to the king, that the idols faces were red : upon 
which, little imagining it to be done by such wicked hands, but looking upon 
it as a miraculous event and undoubted sign of the island's destruction being 
now at hand, he went forthwith on board his ships, with his family and all 
that would folloxv him ; and, with crowded saiU, hastenedfrom the fatal shores 
towards the coasts of the province Foktsju in China. Jfter the kings de- 

' Damas. vit. Isid. apud Phot. Bibl. p. 1073, Eusob. Prsep. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. 



180 THE ORIGIN OF PyVGAN IDOLATRY. 

■ooK III. part lire the island sunk ; and the scoffer icilh his acxompUccs, not apprehen- 
sive that their frolic would be attended with so dangerous a consequence, was 
szvallowed up hy the waves, with all the unfaithful that remained in the island 
and an immense quantify of porccllane ware. The king and his people got 
safe to China, where the memoty of his arrival is still celebrated by a yearly 
festival ; on which the Chinese, particularly the inhabitants of the southern 
maritime provinces, divert themselves on the water, rowing up and dorm in 
their boats as if they were preparing for a flight, and sometimes crying 
with a loud voice Peiiuun xvhich zvas the name of that prince. The same 
festival has been introduced by the Chinese into Japan ; and is now celebrated 
there, chiefly on the western coasts of that empire.^ 

It is easy to see, that this tradition respecting the island Maurigasima, 
though adapted to the manners and habits of China, has originated from the 
same source as the legends respecting Atlantis, Samothrace, and the isle of 
the Phlegyae. 

III. As the submersion of an island is sometimes celebrated in ancient 
mythology without any mention being made of the bursting of a lake ; so the 
bursting of a lake is sometimes spoken of without any mention being made of 
the submersion of an island. In this latter case, the deluge produced is oc- 
casionally described as partial, and occasionally as universal : but, even 
where it is said to be partial, we may discover some traces of primitive truth 
in the midst of local appropriation. 

1. The Arabs of Yaman had a story of this nature, which they incorpo- 
rated with the history of their own tribe, assigning the occurrence to one 
particular region. Mr. Sale, in whose words I shall give it, understands it 
literally, and fixes it to its supposed proper chronological epoch ; much in the 
same manner, as some writers have attempted to determine the era of the 
Argonautic expedition and the age of the flood which was said to have over- 
whelmed Samothrace in the time of Deucalion : but every circumstance de- 
tailed in it, as well as the particular form into which it has been moulded, 
leads me to adopt a very different opinion. 

The flrst great calamity that befell the tribes settled in Yaman was the 

' Ktempfcr's Japan. Append, p. 13. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 181 

inundation of Arum, which happened soon after the time of Alexander the ""*''' ^''' 
great, and iifanwus in the Arabian history. N'o less than eight tribes were 
forced to abandon their dwellings upon this occasion, some of which gave 
rise to the tu-o kingdoms of Ghassan and Hira. And this was probably the 
time of the migration of those tribes or colo7iies, which were led into Meso- 
potamia by three chiefs Beer, Modar, and Rabia ; from zvhom the three 
provinces of the country are still named Diyar Beer, Diyar ^lodar, and 
Diyar Rabia. Abdshems, sirnamed Saba, having built the city from him 
called Saba and afterwards j\Iarel>, made a vast mound or dam to serve as a 
bason or reservoir to receive the water which came down from the mountains, 
7iot only for the use of the inhabitants and watering their lands, but also to 
keep the country they had subjected in greater axce by being masters of the 
water. This building stood like a mountain above their city, a?id was by 
them esteemed so strong, that they were in no apprehension of its ever failing. 
The water rose to the height of almost txccnty fathoms, and was kept in on 
every side by a work so solid, that many of the inhabitants had their houses 
built upon it. Every family had a certain portion of this water distributed 
by aqueducts. But at length God, being highly displeased at their great 
pride and insolence and resolving to humble and disperse them, sent a mighty 
food, which broke dozen the mound by night while the inhabitants were 
asleep, and carried axvay the whole city xcith the iieighbouring towns and 
people.^ 

This story bears such a resemblance to other parallel traditions, that, even 
without descending to tiie minuteness of nearer observation, -vvc are almost 
involuntarily led to pronounce; that it must have had a common origin with 
them, that it is no narrative of an event which concerned the tribes of Yaman 
alone, but that it relates to an awful visitation which equally affected a whole 
world. The persuasion however will be much strengthened, if we note the 
j^articulars of the legend. 

In respect to the probability whicli it may claim as a literal detail of local 
circumstances, I cannot but think it not a little unlikely, that a body of men 
should build a city immediately beneath an enormous mound that formed an 

" Sale's Prelim. Disc, to Koran, sect. i. p. 10. 



182 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

artificial lake of great extent. They must have been aware, that such a 
lake, from tlie very nature of its situation, was liable to be suddenly swelled 
by those mountain torrents which were its feeders ; and that, whenever it 
was so swelled, there was at least a considerable degree of danger that the 
mound might not be strong enough to bear the increased pressure of the wa- 
ter. ^ They would hope that it might be equal to the weight : but they would 
scarcely have built their town in a place, where it must inevitably be inun- 
dated, if the mound unfortunately ever should give way ; they would not have 
taken pains to place themselves in danger beneath the mound, when they 
might just as well have dwelt in safety either at the head or on the side of 
the lake. So again : it is not easy to conceive, how these Arabs, consider- 
ing what has ever been the state of society in their country, could have been 
equal to the accomplishment of so stupendous a work. The chief of only 
a few tribes, in the very midst of a hostile region and partly with a view of 
keeping its inhabitants in a state of dependence upon him, is yet able with his 
slender means to construct a mound of such ample dimensions, that it rose 
like a mountain above his city and was equal to the supporting of many 
houses upon its broad summit I We may form however a yet more distinct 
idea of its bulk by calling in the aid of mensuration. The depth of the 
artificial lake is said to have been near twenty fathoms : consequently, allow- 
ing for the fall of ground in the valley which formed its bed, the mound 
built across the valley must, on the outer side of it next to the city which 
lay beneath, have been more than twenty fathoms in height. What may be 
the precise length of the Arabic measure which Mr. Sale expresses by the 
English word Jathom, I pretend not to determine : but we may at least con- 
clude, that he designated it by that English measure to which it the most 
nearly approaches. Now a fathom contains six feet : the height therefore 
of the mound must at least have been 120 feet: that is to say, it must have 
equalled, if not exceeded, the altitude of the bodies of our loftiest cathe- 
drals." What its length was across the valley, we are not informed : but we 

' The internal height of the naves and choirs of Westminster Abbey and York Minster is 
from 99 to 101 feet: their external height therefore to the top of the battlements can scarcely 
be more than 120. These two are, I believe, the loftiest buildings of the sort in England. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 183 

may presume it to have been so great, as utterly to destroy the credibility of *'"*''• 
the story considered as detailing an absolute local matter of fact. Perhaps 
it may be said, that the story itself may be true, though the bulk of the 
mound be a palpable exaggeration. To this I reply, tiiat, if we diminish the 
bulk of the mound and therefore the size of the lake ; we proportionably di- 
minish, though in another way, the credibility of the narrative. For what 
are the alleged effects of the failure of the mound ? It does not merely lay 
under water the cellars or the lower rooms of a village, which the bursting 
forth of such a pool as a large mill-dam might easily do ; but it sweeps away 
a whole city. Nor yet does it sweep away a single city : it involves in the 
same destruction many neighbouring towns. Nay more : it is a calamity, 
which affects a considerable proportion of the tribes settled in Yaman ; for 
it compels no fewer than eight of them to abandon their dwellings ; and these 
contain a population sufficient to establish two kingdoms. Now the burst- 
ing of a mere mill-dam could not have produced such results : we require a 
body of water at least as large as that which the story sets forth. Thus we 
are brought back to the original difficulty of admitting the construction of 
such a stupendous mound by the inadequate agents, to whom it is ascribed. 
I allow, that vast tumuli in various parts of the world do indeed prove the 
wonderful perseverance of the early idolaters and demonstrate what may be 
done by the united efforts of multitudes : but the aggestion of the Arabic 
mound by the subjects of a petty Sheich surrounded with hostile neighbours 
exceeds every limit of moderate credibility. 

For my own part, I cannot believe a syllable of the matter, if it be li- 
terally esteemed a proper local circumstance ; but I think, that the Iccrend 
which details it does in a great measure act as its ow n interpreter. Mr. Sale 
fixes the supposed event to the age immediately following that of Alexan- 
der: but the tradition seems to have been, even as he himself details it, that 
it was the earliest calamity which befell the Yamanic tribes. Now this is 
the precise mode, in which the flood is described in every local appropria- 

The chapel of King's College in Cambridge may give one some idea of the Arabic mound, ex- 
cept that it equals it not in height, and muit be deemed far inferior to it in breadth. As for 
the length of the mound, it would depend upon the breadth of the valley. Yet what a stu- 
pendous mass would a solid mound of earth be of the dimensions even of that chapel! 



184 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATK\'. 

iKxiK III. (i(,,, Qf |{ Yhc event itself inoieover was not the result of vvliat is usually 
called an unlucky accident. The mound did indeed burst: but its disrup- 
tion was produced by a deluge, specially sent by the gods in order to punish 
the pride and insolence of an impious and degenerate race. And what i.s 
the consequence of this divine visitation ? Numbers perish : but eight tribes 
are preserved, although constrained to quit their former habitations ; and 
these eight tribes emigrate under three leaders. Do we not here detect an 
evident allusion to the arkitc ogdoad and to the triple offspring of Noah, so 
famous in the traditions of every ancient nation? And this opinion is con- 
siderably strengthened by the names exhibited in the legend. The pretended 
deluge, though said to have occurred in Yaman or the south-western re- 
gion of Arabia, is yet called i/tc deluge of Aram or Jllesopotumian Syria ; 
and the three chiefs are represented as leading the emigrants into tliat coun- 
try. Now the country of Aram was famous for meuiorials of the deluge. 
It is the district; which, viewed as including Syria, contained Apamea and 
Hierapolis, which comprehended w ithin its limits the sacred Paradisaical ri- 
river Euphrates, and which extended to the primeval Cuthic empire of Ba- 
bylonia. From this centre the arki te Mysteries were carried to every quar- 
ter of the globe : and with those Mysteries Sabianism, or the astrononiical 
worship of the host of heaven, was immemorially blended. We find, ac- 
cordingly, a clear reference to it in the present Arabian legend. The inun- 
dated city is reported to have been called Saba from the sirname of its sup- 
posed founder Abdshems. But Saba denotes a host, whence the term 
Sabianism : and Abdshems or Abed-Slicmesh signifies the servant oj the 
Sun. In a similar manner, with reference to a symbol of the great father 
held in high veneration throughout the whole pagan world, one of the three 
leaders of the eight emigrating tribes is called Beer or the ox. The tradi- 
tion, in short, seems to me to relate to the very same event, and to be handed 
down in the very same mystical phraseology, as the parallel legends wliich 
have been already considered.' 

' Arkite Sabianism was established in Arabia by its first settlers, who appear to have mi- 
grated from Babel under Cuthic leaders ; Jor we find a part of the country denominated Ethio- 
pia or Chu$i»tan or the land -of Cuih. The inundated city in the legend was called Saba : 



TIIK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. \S5 

'2. As most of the sacred British lakes were thought to iiave overwhelmed c^^- ^'• 
certain cities on account of tlie wickedness of their inhabitants ; so ne find, 
that the Druids ascribed the general deluge to the bursting of the lake Llion, 
thiis mingling what they acknowledged to be universal with some degree of 
local appropriation. The first of the three awful events, which are said in 
the Triads to have befallen the British island, was the bursting Jorth of the 
lake of Llion and the otcy-whclming of the face (f all lands ; so that all 
mankind were drowned, excepting Dv^yvan and Dwyvach, who escaped in 
a naked vessel (or a vessel without sails), and by whom the island of Bri- 
tain was repeopled.' With respect to this vessel «e are further told, that 
one of the three chief master-works of Britain was the ship of Nevydd- A^ax:- 
Neivion, which carried in it a male and a female of all living when the lake of 

and in the book of Job mention is made both of the Sabeansandof the grand objects of their 
worship. The holy man himself, adhering to the religion of Noah, declares his utter abhor- 
rence of such superstition: but he does it in terms, which shew that the practice of adorino 
the Sun and Moon was very generally prevalent among his countrymen. I take it, that the 
caution used by Job to ofifer up sacrifices in behalf of his sons during the days of their feast- 
ing originated from a fear of their secretly hankering after these illicit practices. Every idol 
sacrifice was a festival : and the pious father dreaded, lest the feasts of his children should be 
so perverted in imitation of the Sabian feasts, that they should be tempted to bless the gods 
(the false gods of the apostates) in their hearts ; secretly at first, afterwards perhaps more open- 
ly. Such I deem the proper import of the passage rendered in our translation. It may be, that 
my tons haxe sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. See Job i. 15. xxxi. 26, 27, 28. i. 5. 
I cannot refrain from observing, that there is in this ancient book a manifest allusion to the de- 
luge, couched in terms which not a little resemble those of the Arabian legend: a mighty ri- 
ver is said to have been suddenly poured out upon the foundations of the wicked. The pas- 
sage, in the somewhat more accurate version of Bp. Stock, runs as follows. Hast thou marked 
tht path of old, which iniquitous mortals hale trodden ? Who were laid hold on before their 
time, a river was poured on theirfoundation. Who said unto God, Depart from us, and what 
can the yilmighty do for us? Yet hc_filled thtir houses with good: but, counsel of the wicked, 
be thou far from me ! The righteous saw it, and were glad ; the innocent man laughed at them. 
Job xxii. 1 j — 19. .^mong the ancients, the ocean was esteemed a vast river: and, on the 
other hand, a large river was considered as a symbol of the ocean at the time of the deluge. 
Such was the case with the rivers Siyx, Nile, Euphrates^ and Ganges : and the Arabian lake, 
formed (according to the legend) by a mouud built across the bed of a river, which burst forth 
and overwhelmed the dwellings of the unrighteous, had, I believe, when stripped of its locality, 
the very same reference. 

' Davies's Celtic Research, p. 157. Mythol.of Brit. Druids. p. 95. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. u. 2 A 



BOOR III. 



186 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

L/ion burst forth. ^ And it is added, that another of these master-works vvas 
the drawing of the Avanc (or mystic beaver) to land out of the lake by the 
branching oxen of Hw-Gadarn, so that the lake burst no more.^ 

Such legends, which plainly relate to the Noetic deluge, may serve as a 
key. to the other British stories, which so frequently connect with each of 
th« sacred lakes some tradition of a flood. As I have already observed, 
they are only multiplied accounts of one event, adapted to particular re- 
gions. Every lake was a symbol of the deluge : and the small island, which 
reposed on its bosom and which was often feigned to have once floated, re- 
presented the mundane ship Argha : hence, in most of those recesses where 
the diluvian Mysteries were celebrated, we find a story, of a flood which 
overwhelmed a wicked race of mortals while some ancient personage es- 
caped in a boat or ark. 

Respecting the legends now under consideration, their locality, to adopt 
the just remarks of Mr. Davies, as zvell as their other peculiarities, fur- 
nishes sufficient proof, that they must have been ancient national traditions. 
Such memorials as these cannot be supposed to have originated in the perver- 
sion of the sacred records, during any age subsequent to the introduction of 
Christianity. The contrary appears from their ichimsical discrepancy with 
historical fact. The Britons then had a tradition of a deluge, which had 
overwhelmed all lands : but this deluge, according to them, was occasioned by 
the sudden bursting of a lake. One vessel had escaped the catastrophe : in 
this a single man and woman were preserved : and, as Britain and its 
inhabitants were, in their estimation, the most important objects in the 
world; so we are told, that this island, in an especial manner, was repeo- 
pled by the man and woman zvho had escaped. This has no appearance of 
having been draxcn from the record of Moses : it is a mere mutilated tradi- 
tion, such as was common to most heathen nations. So again : the Britons 
had a tradition, that a vessel had been provided, somewhere or other, to pre- 
serve a single family and the race of anitnuls from the destruction of a de- 
luge : but they possessed only a mutilated part of the real history ; and, as 
tradition positively affirmed that their own ancestors were concerned in the 
building of this vessel, they naturally ascribed the achievement to that coun- 

' Davies's Otitic Research, p. 157- Mythul. of Brit. Druids, p. 9i. *lbid. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 187 

try, in which their progenitors had been settled from remote antiquity. And 
lastly they had a tradition, that some great operating cause protected the 
world from a repetition of the deluge. They had lost sight of the true his- 
tory, which rests this security upon the promise of the Supreme Being ; and 
ascribed it to thejeat of a yoke of oxen, which drew the avanc or beaver 
out of the lake. And the want of more accurate vformation gave them an 
opportunity of placing this ideal achievement in the island of Britain. In 
such tales as these we have only the vestiges of heathenism/ 

The whole mythological history of Hu, whose oxen draw the beaver out 
of the lake and thus prevent a repetition of the deluge, sufficiently proves 
him to have been the British Dionusus or Noah : and his oxen, which ori- 
ginally were three in number, are but a multiplication of a well known sym- 
bol of the great father, formed allusively to his triple offspring. As for the 
legend itself, it exists not only in the Triads, but is traditionally preserved 
among the Welsh even to the present day. Of all the objects of ancient su- 
perstition, says Mr. Davies, there is none which has taken such hold of the 
populace of JVales, as the celebrated oxen of Hu. Their fame is still vi- 
gorous in every corner of the principality, as far at least as the JVelsh lan- 
guage has 7naintained its ground. Tradition tells us, that they were of an 
extraordinary size, and that they tvere subjected to the sacred yoke. I have 
also several reasons to suppose, that in pagan Britain some rites in comme- 
moration of the deluge, xvherein the agency of sacred oxen was employed, were 
periodically celebrated on the borders of several lakes. In replying to a tale 
which seems utterly impossible, we use an old adage which says. The Ychen 
Banawg cannot draw the Avanc out of deep waters. This imports, that they 
could draxc him out of waters of a certain depth. And popular and local 
traditions of such an achievement are current all over JVales. There is 
hardly a lake in the principality, which is not asserted in the 7ieighbourhood 
to be that, where this feat xvas performed. Such general traditions of the 
populace must have arisen from some ceremony, which was familiar to their 
ancestors. And this cei-emony seems to have been performed xvith several 
heathenish 7-itcs. Air. Owen tells us, that there is a strange piece of music, 

' Mythol. of Brit. Druids, p. <j6, 97- 



CHAP. VI. 



188 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

Still kno-um to a few penons, called Cainc yr Ycliain Banawg ; which was in- 
tended as an imitation of the lowing of the oxen and the rattling of the 
chains in drawing the A vane out of the lake.' 

By the Avanc we are generally to understand the beaver : but we are told, 
that in the present instance tradition makes it an animal of prodiiiious bulk 
and force ; yet still, I should apprehend, as the name implies, an animal 
of the beaver kind, otherwise there is no reason why it should be particu- 
larly called J vane ^ Mr. Davies conceives the Avanc to be ultimately refer- 
able to the patriarch himself, or to the Ark considered as his shrine and sup- 
posed to have been exti'icated from the waters of the deluge by the aid of the 
sacred oxen. Tlie propriety of this conjecture I am somewhat inclined to 
doubt, though it is by no means devoid of plausibility. The Avanc seems 
to have been esteemed the cause of the deluge, and he is drawn out of the 
lake in order that it may burst no more ; which implies, that its disruption 
was produced by his instrumentality. This character does not answer very 
well either to Noah or the Ark : but it accurately corresponds with that de- 
mon, which is so conspicuously introduced into many old tiaditions of the 
deluge. The flood being the consequence and punishment of sin, and sin 
having been brought into the world by Satan, the old mythologists appear to 
have ascribed the flood to the operation of the evil principle. Such a notion 
is distinctly avowed in the Zend-Avesta ; and it occurs, with more or less 
clearness, in many of the legends of pagan antiquity. Thus, in the Hin- 
doo fable, the demon Hirinacheren carries down the earth to the bottom of 
the ocean, but at the close of the deluge is slain by Vishnou. Thus, in 
another Hindoo fable, a monstrous serpent and a host of evil demons act a 
prominent part in the submersion of the old world. Thus the Egyptian 
Typhon, who is clearly the Greek Python, personates the evil principle and 
appears as a huge dragon : yet is he so closely connected with the deluge, 
that Plutarch declares him to be the sea. In all these various fables, the 
monster, which produces the flood, is either slain oi' subdued at the end of it. 
Now I would interpret the British stoiy of the Avanc in the same manner, 
and would consider that mystic animal as the Typhon or Hirinacheren of the 

' Mythol. of Brit. Druids, p. 128, 129. * Ibid. p. 129, 130. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 189 

Druids. The adoption of the beaver as a symbol of the evil principle, ra- ^^*'' ""' 
ther than a sei-pent or a mishapen demon, naturally followed from the 
making a lake to be typical of the deluge. The lake bursts and inundates a 
world : but it bursts in consequence of the mound which restrained its wa- 
ters being weakened and undermined by the destructive operations of a vast 
beaver. The beaver is at length drawn out: and then the lake bursts no 
more, because the mound is no longer liable to the ravages of that animal. 

3. It is remarkable, that the same cause is assigned to the deluge by the 
savages of North America ; a circumstance, which serves to shew how very 
widely the prevailing notions of the Cabiric Mysteries had spread themselves. 
A spirit, called Otkon by the Iroquois and Atahauta by the other barbarians 
at the mouth of the river St. Laurence, is thought to be the creator of the 
world : and they assign its reparation after the deluge to this same Otkon un- 
der the new appellation of Messou. They say, that, Mtssou or Otkon being 
a hunting one day, his dogs lost themselves in a great lake; which, thereupon 
overflowing, covered the whole earth in a short ti??ie and swallaived up the 
world. They add, that this Messou or Otkon gathered a little earth toge- 
ther by the help of some aniinals, and made use of this earth to repair the 
world again.^ 

We may observe in the present legend all the principal features, which 
mark the sacred fables of the whole eastern continent, whence no doubt at 
some early period it was carried into America. 

The reproduction of the world after the flood is considered as a new crea- 
tion ; and each mundane system is ascribed to one and the same transmi- 
grating divinity, who is clearly the great father of paganism. This demiur- 
gic god in short, like Cronus and Menu and other siuiilar deities, supports 
the character of Adam the parent of the antediluvian world, viewed as re- 
appearing in Noah the parent of the postdiluvian world. The disruption of 
the lake, and the inundation of the whole earth by its waters, are but a 
repetition of those traditions which have already passed in review be- 
fore us. 

Nor are the dogs introduced into the story accidentally and without rea- 

' Hennepin's Discov. of Norih Amor. p. 54. 



190 ' THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. son ; nor yet, I suspect, merely in reference to any devotedness of the 
North-American savages to the chase. We find them here immediately 
connected with a tradition of the flood : and we find them, in the eastern 
hemisphere, esteemed sacred animals, associated with the arkite goddess, 
and generally making a very conspicuous figure in those Mysteries which 
were immediately commemorative of the deluge. Pletho tells us, that cer- 
tain canine phantoms never failed to be exhibited before the eyes of the ini- 
tiated :' and Bp. Warburton, very justly in my opinion, supposes that one 
of these phantoms was the infernal dog Cerberus.' Virgil, in that part of 
the Eneid which has rightly been deemed allusive to the Mysteries, speaks 
of similar apparitions ; and informs us, that the bowlings of dogs were dis- 
tinctly heard through the gloomy shades of Hades.' Dogs were likewise 
sacred to that Hecatfe or Diana, who was thought to preside in the Samo- 
thracian Cabiric grotto of Zerinthus ; tliat grotto, which (according to Ly- 
cophron) Dardanus quitted when driven thence by the flood of Deucalion.* 
Hence Apollonius properly describes the goddess as attended by them, when 
she appeared to the Argonautic Jason ; and speaks of their shrill yellings 
resounding through the midnight air, while the torches of the Orgies gleamed 
before his eyes.* Hecat^ herself is represented by the Orphic poet, as 
having the heads of a dog, a horse, and a lion :* and the barking Anubis 
was no unimportant character in the diluvian Mysteries of Osiris.' He was 
depicted with the head of a dog ; and he bore in his hand the caduceus of 
Hermes, round which two snakes were intwined. Plutarch tells us, that 
some esteemed him the same as Cronus.' I believe them to have been in the 
• right : for he was no other than the Egyptian Thoth or Hermes, who is ulti- 
mately one god with Cronus and Osiris. The dog seems to have been one 
of the many sacred emblems of the great father : whence, as Anubis is the 
same as Cronus or Osiris ; so the dog Cerberus is often represented upon 
medals as couching at the feet of Serapis, who was esteemed the same as 

' Orac. Chald. p. po. * Divine Legal, b. ii. sect. 4. p. 123. 

' Virg. ^neid. lib. vi. ver. 257. * Lycoph. Cassand. ver. 72 — 85. 

' Apoll, Argon, lib. iii. ver. 1211 — 1220. ' Orph. Argon, ver. 973 — 976- 

' Latrator Anubis. Virg. /Eneid. lib. viii. ver. 698. ' Plut. de Isid. p. 368. 



THE ORIGIN OF FAGAW IDOLATRY. 191 

Osiris, Pluto, and the Sun.' Nay we are assured, that Cerberus himself 
was the Sun, or Pluto, or Orcus : he was therefore Osiris also ; because 
Osiris in his celestial capacity is declared to be the Sun, while in his human 
character he is no less clearly the great father.' 

But the North- American god of the deluge is not merely attended by 
dogs ; he employs his dogs in hunting. This peculiarity also prevails in se- 
veral of the mythologies of the eastern continent. Hecat^ or Diana was 
esteemed the goddess of hunting, and was represented as followed by her 
hounds : yet she was one of the principal Samothracian or Cabiric deities, 
and thence like the American god Messou immediately connected with the 
flood. In heaven she was the Moon : but that Moon, from the navicular 
form of the crescent, was the astronomical symbol of the Ark. Accordingly, 
she is declared by more than one writer to be the same as the maritime Isis, 
Venus, and Ceres ; to be in reality no other than Rhea or Cybel^, the uni- 
versal great mother of the diluvian hero-gods ; to be therefore, as her own 
triplication amply points out, the threefold Indo-Scythic Devi, who as Par- 
vati floats on the surface of the flood in the form of the ship Argha.' Hence 
we find, that this patroness of hunting, this lunar deity, is styled never- 
theless the queen of the waves, the maritime goddess, the preserver of ships.* 
In a similar manner, Typhon, who (as we learn from Plutarch) was the same 
as Oceanus or the sea, is said to have been employed in hunting the boar, 
when he found the luniform aik which contained the body of Osiris.' Ado- 
nis likewise, who is undoubtedly no other than Osiris, and who was thought 
to have been during his infancy inclosed within an ark, is represented as be- 
ing much addicted to hunting and as finally receiving his allegorical death 

" Montfauc. Ant. vol. ii. part ii. p. 186, 189. Plut. de Isid. p. 36l, 362. Macrob. Saturn, 
lib, i. c. 20. 

* Porph. apud Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. iii. c. 10. p. 68. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 20. Sil. 
Ilal. lib. xiii. ver. 845. 

^ Lucian. dial. deor. p. 123. Clem. Alex. Strom, lib. i. p. 322. Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 21. 
Apul. Mptam. lib. xi. Serv. in Virg. Georg. lib. i. ver. 5. 

* Inscrip. vet. apud Gruter. p. 37. Artem. Oniroc. lib. ii. c. 42. Paus. Acbaic. p. 437. 
Lacon. p. 208. Stvab. Geog. lib. viii, p. 36l. 

* Plut. de Ibid. p. 344, 



CHAr. ▼!. 



HOOK III. 



192 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

from the tusks of a boar.' Exactly tlie same notions, respecting the sacred- 
ness of dogs and a certain mystical hunting, prevailed among the ancient 
Druids, and thence appeared in the diluvian Orgies of Britain. The chase 
denoted the celebration of the Mysteries : and the dogs were the epoptas ; who 
ever affected the titles, and claimed to themselves the various hieroglyphical 
forms, of the. great father.' In a curious legend relative to this subject, 
which singularly coincides with the ideas exhibited in the American fable, 
Pwyll, when about to engage in the exercise of hunting, chooses for the place 
of his diversion the vale of the boat or ark. In the midst of the pursuit, 
he meets with a pack of hounds, termed dogs of the deep, the same no doubt 
as the infernal dogs of the Eleusinian and Chaldaic Mysteries. The master 
of them informs him, that he is lord of the deep, and that his name is 
Arawn or the Arkite. He then proposes, that Pwyll should assume his form, 
and thus rule over the vast deep during the space of a complete year ; the 
time during which Noah was confined within the Ark. The offer is accepted : 
Pwyll remains a year in the great deep, a tenant of the palace of Arawn : 
and, when at length he emerges, after a solemn festal sacrifice, he is astonish- 
ed with the beautiful phenomenon of the rainbow.' These various coinci- 

' Lucian. de dea Syra. § 6, 7- Plut. delsid. p. 357. ApoUod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 13. § 4. Non- 
ni Dionys. lib. xli. 

* When the great father was a dog, his votaries were dogs; when a lion, lions ; when a boar, 
boars. In a similar manner, when the great mother was a bee, her priestesses were bees ; when 
a dove, doves ; when a mare, mares. 

' Davies's Mytbol. of the Brit. Druids, p. 418 — 424. From this source has clearly ori- 
ginated the popular superstition respecting evil spirits appearing in the form of black dogs. 
When any impious wretch has sold himself to Satan and celebrates his yearly conference with 
him, the loud bowlings of these infernal attendants are heard through the dari«ness of the night 
to the no small terror of the peaceful villager. The early notion, that the gods of Paganism 
were literally devils, has caused much of old mythology to be ingrafted upon the ghost-loving 
creed of the vulgar. Mr. Grose has given a curious legend of the spectre, which the Manks 
call the Mauthe Doog, and which is believed to have once haunted Peele castle in the shape of 
a large black spaniel. The demon, it seems, was wont to come and retire by a dark winding 
passage, which led into certain ancient vaults. A drunken soldier had once the audacity to 
follow him; but the adventure cost him his life. He was so terrified, that he died within 
three days. Laving never been heard to speak more. I have little doubt, that the whole tale 
has arisen from the Druidical mode of celebrating the Mysteries, which was the very same as 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 193 

dciiccs are too minute to be purely the eftect of accident : and I conclude *^"'^''- ■*''* 
from them, that our American tradition describes the catastrophe of the de- 
luge in the well-known phraseology of the iVIysteries.' 

IV. There are however certain otlier traditions of a partial and local de- 
luge, which are not marked by the circumstances either of the bursting of a 
lake or the sinking of an island. These I ascribe to the same source as the 
former, and interpret in the same manner. 

1. The Egyptians had more than one legend of such a nature, to say no- 
thing of the whole history of Osiris. 

(1.) Thus we learn from Diodorus, that,- while Prometheus reigned in 
Egypt, the greatest part of men were destroyed by a flood. This deluge is 
indeed ascribed to the overflowing of the Nile : but it is absurd to attribute 
to a matter, which is at once annual and beneficial, an inundation, which is 
said to have destroyed at a very remote period almost all the inhabitants of 
the country.'' The tradition no doubt originated from the seniiments, which 
the Egyptians entertained of the sacred river. They called it the ocean^ 
and they esteemed it a symbol of the deluge, as we may clearly gather from 
the circumstance of the ark of Osiris being set afloat upon its waters : hence 
their hierophants were obviously led to describe the flood of Noah under 
the image of an overflowing of the Nile. 

The present fable connects, with the old mythology of Egypt, the legend 
of Atlas and the island Atlantis on the one hand, and the cognate superstition 
of the Celtic nations on the other. Prometheus, like Atlas, if considered 
singly, is the great father : but, when viewed in conjunction with his two 
brothers, Atlas and Epimetlicus, whom the scholiast on Aratus assigns to 

that of celebrating the Orgies of Eleusis. The .ispiraDt passed through various dark winding 
p.Tssagcs, ere he emerged into the celestial light of plenary initiation ; and, in his progress 
through darkness visible, he beheld the forms, and heard the bowlings, of the dogs of hell, 
(irose's Ant. vol. vi. p. 198 — 201. 

' I suspect, ihat the American savages viewed the enormous Mammoth much in the same 
light as the Druids did the A vane. They have a tradition, that, at the close of the deluge, the 
last Mammoth sprang at a single leap over the lake Superior, and vanished for ever into the 
wilds of Canada. He was probably their symbol of the diluvian evil principle. 

^ Diod. Bibl. lib. i.p. 10. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 B 



194 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

him, he appears in the character of one of the three sons of the transmigrat- 
ing patriarch. ' That w riter makes him the offspring of Uranus hy Clymen^ 
daughter of Oceanus : and we may observe, that Hesiod similarly ascribes 
to Uranus a triple offspring. In this genealogy therefore, Cottus, Briareus, 
and Gyges, occupy the place of Atlas, Prometheus, and Epimetheus. 
Cronus meanwhile is made to belong to another branch of the family of 
Uranus : but we learn from the Orphic poet, that the diluvian Prometheus 
was the very same person as Cronus the universal father of mankind." His 
descent, in short, no less than the Egyptian fable, immediately connects him 
with the flood : for Uranus and Cronus, each at the head of his three sons, 
are certainly Adam reappearing in the person of Noah. Hence we some- 
limes find Pronietheus reckoned the offspring of lapetus or Japhet; an 
error indeed, but an error which serves to throw light on his real character.' 
The Egyptians then, it appears, esteemed him one of their most ancient 
sovereigns, and fixed him to the era of a great flood : but he was not exclusively 
an Egyptian ; he is celebrated in countries very far removed from Egypt, and 
with good reason, inasmuch as he was the general parent of all men. 
Sometimes he was reported to have been one of the Cabiri or Samothra- 
cian divinities, and to have officiated as the priest of Ceres or the mundane 
Ark ; at other times, like his supposed brother Atlas, he was transported to 
the country of the Celts or Hyperboreans, and was bound to a crag of that 
Scythian Caucasus, which, no less than the Indian Caucasus, was the very 
region of the Ark and of Paradise. * He is further said to have been the 
father of that Deucalion : who was preserved in an ark ; who (according to 
Lucian) was a Scythian ; and who was equally claimed by the Greeks, by the 
Syrians of Hierapolis, and by the Hindoos. ' It is almost superfluous to 
observe, that Prometheus and Deucalion were in reality one person, and 
that the history of each alike relates to the flood of Noah. 

(2.) In another Egyptian legend, Menes or Manes occupies the place of 

' Schol. in Arat. Phaen. p. 34, 35. 

• Hesiod. Theog. ver. 137, 147—153. Orph. Hymn. xii. 

' Apollod. Bibl. lib. i. c. 2. § 3. Proc. in Hesiod. p. 23. Hyg. in praef. fab. 

♦ Pausan. Boeot. p. 579. Apollod. Bibl. lib. i. c. 7. § 1. .I^schyl. Prom, vinct. 
' Apollod. Bibl. lib. i. c. 7. § 2. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY, 195 

Prometheus. He is said to have reigned the first of men : and, in his days, c"*!*'^'* 
tlie whole of Egypt, except the nome of Thebes, was reputed to have been 
one immense marsh." This ancient personage narrowly escaped drowning in 
the inundation. He was saved by a crocodile, which conveyed him to land 
on its back : whence that animal came to be deemed sacred. * It was plainly 
a symbol of the Ark; as we may collect both from the story itself, and from 
the very name by which the Egyptians were wont to designate it. Herodotus 
tells us, that they called it Campsa : but Hesychius assures us, that Campsa 
properly signifies an ark or chest. ^ Accordingly, the canine deity Anubis, 
who was the same as Cronus or Noah, was represented standing upon a 
crocodile.* Tiiis circumstance serves to shew also the identity of Anubis 
and Menes, and likewise to point out the real character of the latter. Menes 
was the Indian Menu-Satyavrata ; who was preserved in an ark from the 
deluge, who (viewed as a reappearance of the elder Menu) was esteemed 
the primeval legislator, and who (like the Egyptian hero-god) was attended 
by the symbolical bull. In Crete he Avas called Minos ; in Lydia, Mams; 
in Scythian Germany, Mannus ; and in Britain, Afenii or Menwyd. He 
was thought to be a great law'giver : and the Celts had a tradition, that he 
constructed a large ship, which they denominated Kyd and which was reck- 
oned a form of their goddess Ceridwen. In this he passed through the dale 
of grievous zvaters, having carefully stored the fore part of it with corn. ' 

(3.) The Egyptians had yet a third story of a partial deluge, in which the 
hero bore the name of Phoroneus, and in which he is described as the person 
eminently called the Jirst.^ He is said to have been the son of Inachus, in 
whose days likewise there was thought to have been a deluge. ' Yet Acusilaus 
telk us, that he was the first man ; an ancient poet, cited by Clemens Alex- 

' Herod. Hist. lib. ii. c. 4. 

" Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 80. 

^ Herod. Hist. lib. ii. c. 6^. Kafi^/a, fir^y.ij. Hesjch. Le.x. In a similar manner, Theha, 
which properly signifies an ark, was used to denote a cow, because a cow was one of the 
hieroglyphics of the Ark. Tzetz. in Lycoph. ver. 1206. 

* Plut. de Isid. p. 368. Montfauc. Ant. vol. ii. part ii. p. 197. 

' Davies's IMythol. p. 176. 

' Plat. Tim. fol. 22, 23. 

'' Tzetz. in Lycoph. rer. 177. 



IDf) THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK u I. aiuhinus, sty]cs h'nn tlte pai'etif of 7nortal men : and Anticlirlcs, transfemnsf 
hiin from Egj'pt into Greece, makes him the oldest king of that country.' 
He is said to have flourished in the time of the most ancient deluge : ' and he 
is reputed to have first brought men together into one place, to iiave been 
the grand arranger of nations, to have been the primeval sacrificer, and to 
have been the earliest of mortals that ever reigned. ' Such characteristics 
plainly compel us to identify him with Noah, and to pronounce him the same 
aJso as his own mythological father Inachus. 

a. When Greece was colonized by emigrants from Egypt, they brought 
with tiiem, and afterwards localized in their new settlements, the dikivian 
history of Inachus and Phoroneus ; importing at the same time, and similarly 
localizing, various other parallel fables. Hence we have numerous Hellenic 
accounts of certain partial floods, which were feigned to have taken place 
M ithin the country of Greece. 

(1.) One of these was thought to have occurred in the district of Argolis, 
during the reign of that Inachus who was the reputed father of Phoroneus. 
Neptune and Juno contended for the sovereignty of Argos : in other words, 
the sea and the dove strove for the possession of the ship Argha or Argo ; 
from the worship of which Argos and Argolis received their appellations, 
as Berytus and Thebes did similarly from the same ship Baris and Theba. 
The matter in dispute was referred to Inachus, who decided in favour of 
Juno : upon which Neptune immediately inundated the greater part of the 
country. Juno however at length persuaded him to cause the sea to retire : 
and the Argives in gratitude built a temple to Neptune the Inundator or the 
god of the deluge, at the place w here the waters began to abate. Near this 
was an artificial hill sacred to Argus, the reputed son of Jupiter by Niob^ 
the daughter of Phoroneus ; and a temple of the Dioscori, who, according to 
Sanchoniatho, were the same as the diluvian Cabiri.* The whole of the 
present story originated from the mystic commemorative rites of the Ark. 
Inachus and Argus were equally Noah or the god of the Argha : and the 

• Clem. Alex. Strom, lib. i. p. 3C1. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. vii. c. 56. 
^ CU-m. Strom, lib. i. p. 321. Syncell. Chronog. p. 125. 

^ Paus. Corinth, p. 112. Hyg. Fab. 143, 27 1-. 

♦ Paus. Corinth, p. 125. 



THK OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 197 

mount of Argus, throM-n up in the immediate vicinity of the place where the chap. n. 
dchige Avas thought to have abated, was a copy of that Armenian mountain, 
where tlie Ark rested and wliere the real Argus disembarked. 

(2.) There was a parallel story told at Athens, in which Minerva occupies 
tlie place of Juno, and into which the propitious diluvian olive is conspicu- 
ously introduced. A contest, it is said, once arose between Neptune and 
Minerva, which of them should build the first town in Attica. Jupiter de- 
cided in favour of Minerva, because she was the original planter of the olive- 
tree in that country. Upon this, Neptune in a rage began to bring over it 
an inundation of the sea, or (as some inform us) actually did inundate it : 
but Mercury was dispatched by Jupiter to compel him to desist. ' Pausanias 
says, that the contest between the two deities was for the land ; that is to say, 
whether the patroness of the olive or the ruler of the ocean should possess 
it, whether it should be dry and habitable or laid under water by an inunda- 
tion of the sea: and he mentions, that among the offerings there was a re- 
presentation of Minerva with the olive-tree and of Neptune in the act of 
raising the waves in order to produce a deluge.* 

(3.) This last writer tells us, that there was a very similar story at Corinth 
and likewise at Troezen^. The Corinthian fable exhibited the Sun as con- 
tending with Neptune; the Troezenian, like that of Athens, Minerva. 
Helius or the Sun was the great father elevated to the solar orb : and his 
struggle with Neptune or the sea must of course be understood as solely 
respecting his human character. In the Troezenian contest, which was 
thought to have taken place immediately after the time of Horus who was 
compelled by the ocean to seek refuge in a floating island, Minerva does not, 
as at Athens, prevail over Neptune, but agrees to divide the country with 
him : yet, notwithstanding this evident corruption of the genuine tradition, 
we may broadly observe, that, in all these parallel legends, the ruler of the 
sea is represented, as striving for the possession of the land, and as sometimes 
inundating it ; while he is opposed either by the divine dove, or by the god- 
dess of the olive-tree, or by the Sun who was certainly the astronomical sym- 
bol of the great father. ' 

' Hyg. Fab. \6i. ApoU. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 13. ^1. * Pau«. Atlic. p. 43. 

' Paus. Corinth, p. 86, 141. 



198 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK III. ^4^ The history of Deucalion we have alreadj' considered ; and nave 
clearly shewn, that it relates to the general deluge in the time of Noah: yet 
the Greeks localized it, and appropriated the whole to a particular district in 
their own country. They laid in Thcssaly tlic scene of that flood, from which 
he escaped in a wooden ark. The greatest part of Greece they supposed 
to have been then inundated ; and most of the inhabitants perished, except a 
few who fled to the tops of the highest hills. Deucalion himself, after hav- 
ing been nine days exposed to the perils of the deep, landed safely on the 
summit of mount Parnassus, and there oft'ered a sacrifice to Jupiter the 
Deliverer. ' Yet this very Deucalion is said by Lucian to have been a Scy- 
thian : and he is made the son of the Egyptian king Prometheus, who, 
having himself seen the greatest part of his subjects destroyed by a flood, 
was fixed to a peak of the Scythian Caucasus or Meru. 

Deucalion, through his reputed father Prometheus, is immediately con- 
nected with Atlas, with the submersion of the island Atlantis, with Dagon 
or the sovereign prince Buddha in the belly of the fish, with Beruth or Baris, 
with the Cabiri, and with the various diluvian gods of Phenicia. An accu- 
rate account of his escape from the flood was preserved by the Syrians of 
Hierapolis : and, in the prevailing humour of local appropriation, he was 
thought to have landed in the neighbourhood of that city and on the tops of 
Etna and Athos, as well as on the summit of Parnassus. His deluge was 
that, which inundated Samothrace and which constrained Dardanus to flee 
to the opposite shore of Troas : and it ^vas thought by some to have com- 
menced at Helic^ and Bura, and to have been caused by the action of violent 
winds upon the clouds which there collected together. The moral occasion 
of it was the wickedness of Lycaon, who cut Nuctimus limb from limb and 
sacrificed him to Jupiter.' This fable is nearly allied to the disreption of 
Osiris and Dionusus by the Titans, of Orpheus by the Thracian Bacchantes, 
and of Absyrtus by Medea in the course of the Argonautic expedition : it is 
plain however, since the fame or the family connections of Deucalion ex- 
tended to Egypt, Phenicia, Syria, Scythia, Thrace, India, the mythologic 
island Atlantis, and the real island Sicily, that he cannot have been a mere 

• Apoll. Bibl. lib. i. c. 7- § '2. * Taetz. in Lycopb. ver. 72, 73. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 199 

petty prince of Thessaly, nor liis deluge have been confined to Samothrace or '"*''• "• 
Greece. 

(5.) TheThebans, as well as the Thessalians and the Athenians, had also 
their story of a flood ; nor is this any thing more than might be naturally ex- 
pected ; for their city, like the Egyptian Thebes, received its name from the 
superstitious veneration of Theba or the bovine Ark. Ogyges, the supposed 
son of Neptune and Alistra, was esteemed the most ancient sovereign of 
Beotia : and in his time a great deluge was thought to have occurred, which 
Varro ascribes to an inundation of the sea." This fable, though it relates to 
the Noetic flood, was brought, like many other of the Greek fables, from 
Egypt : for the Beotian Thebes and the Beotian Ogyges are a mere copy of 
the Egyptian Thebes and the Egyptian Ogyges. Accordingly, Tzetzes tells 
us, that Ogj'ges was king of the Egyptian Thebes ; of that Thebes, which 
alone arose above the water, when in the days of I\f enes the rest of the coun- 
try was one great marsh. He further tells us, that Cadmus came from this 
more ancient Thebes, that he transfen'cd the name to the city which he 
founded in Beotia, and that from Ogyges he called its gates Ogygian. 
With respect to the name of Thebes, he informs us, that it was borrowed 
from Theba the daughter of Jupiter and the wife of Ogyges, who flourished, 
according to Lycus, immediately after the flood of Deucalion : and he adds, 
that in the Syriac language Theba signifies a cow ; whence originated the fable 
of Cadmus being led by a cow to the scite of his new city.* 

It is not difficult to decypher this legend. Ogyges, who lived at the time 
of the flood, is Noah : and his allegorical wife Theba, from whom the two 
cities of that name were called, is the Ark, which the Hebrews and Pheni- 
cians and Chaldeans denominated Theba, and which was universally sym- 
bolized by a cow or heifer. 

Hence we may account for another fable, in which Theba is made the wife 
of Corybas and the mother of the Samothracian Corybantes or Cabiri. ' 
These, as their whole history sufliciently shews, were diluvian gods: they 
were made, consequently, the children of Theba or the Ark. 

' Varr. de re rust. lib. iii. c. 1. ' Tzetz. in Lycoph. ver. 1506. 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. v. p. 323. 



200 • THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

no'JK 111. In fine, the Egyptian goddess Theba was the same as Isis or Argo oi* 
Baris; her husband Ogyges was no other than Osiris; and the deluge of 
Ogyges must clearly be identified « ith the deluge of Phoroneus : for Clemens 
Alexandrians tells us, that Phoroneus and Ogyges were contemporaries, and 
that the deluge of Ogyges happened in the days of Phoroneus, who was 
nevertheless reported to be the first man and the father of the human race. ' 

(6.) The Corybantes or Cabiri, who were sometimes thought to be the 
children of Tiicba, were worshipped in Crete under the title of Curctes, 
Ida Daclyli, or Tetchines. They were equally venerated in Rhodes : 
whence, in exact accordance with their general character, we find a Cretan 
or Rhodian legend of a partial deluge immediately connected with them. 

Nonnus informs us, that they were the sons of Neptune : and Diodorus, 
what amounts to the same thing, says, that they were the offspring of the sea. 
He likewise tells us, that Neptune was committed to their care when an in- 
fant, and that they educated him in conjunction with Caphira or Cabira the 
daughter of the ocean. ' Cabira is the same as Theba or the sea-born great 
mother: and the infancy of Neptune is the infancy of Osiris, Helius, Bac- 
chus, Jupiter, and the other diluvian gods. Noah was thought to have been 
born from the Ark as from a mother : hence he was represented as an infant, 
sometimes literally exposed on the ocean in an ark, and sometimes floating 
upon the mysterious aquatic lotos which among the Hindoos is avowedly a 
type of the ship Argha or Argo. 

Now these Telchines, thus allied to the Ocean, were reckoned magicians, 
who could produce clouds and rain at pleasure. They first inhabited Rhodes; 
where having foretold a deluge, they left the island and were scattered into 
various regions of the world. The flood punctually took place according to 
their prediction ; and a few persons only escaped, among whom were the 
sons of Jupiter so famous in Cretan story. ' 

In this legend we may easily perceive, through the disguise of local appro- 
priation, a very distinct reference to the monitory prophecy of Noah and to 

the dispersion of his descendants from the plains of Shinar. Jupiter occupies 

I 

' Clem. Alex. Strom, lib. i. p. 3.'!. 

^ Nonni Dionys. lib. xxvii. Dioil. Bibl, lib. v. p. 3C6. 

' Diod. Bibl. lib. v. p. 3:6, 327. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATHY. 201 

the place of the patriarch ; and his chihhen, who esca[)e from the deliifrc, <^hap. yi. 
that of the Noetic family. Nor is this inconsistent with his character: for 
he is said to have been nursed, while an infant, by doves on the summit of 
mount Ida, which, like the Hindoo Ida-vratta or Meru, was a transcript of 
Ararat ; and he is feigned to have been at once the father and the lover of 
that Theba, who was the w ife of the diUivian Ogy^es. I3y her he was the 
parent of Egyptus and Danaus, Danaus being the brother of Egyptus. ' But 
this Danaus was the navigator of the Argo ; which in Egypt was the ship of 
Osiris, in Greece the ship of Jason, and in Hindostan the ship of Siva. * 

3. Theba was sometimes reckoned the daughter of Cilix, the brother of 
Cadmus and the reputed father of the Cilicians : and then it was, that she 
is said to be the mother of tlie Corybantes or Cabiri.' As she is thus trans- 
ported into Cilicia, thouah (as her relatiunship to Cadmus shews) in palpable 
connection with the theology of Egypt and Beotia, we shall find a story of a 
local deluge at Tarsus. 

The Tarsians, in their account of this catastrophe, asserted, that, when 
tlie waters began to retire, the tops of the Tauric mountains, at the feet of 
which stood Tarsus, first appeared. Hence it acquired the name of Polis 
Tersia or the city of dryness ; which was afterwards, if we may believe the 
Greeks who delighted to resolve every appellation into their own language* 
corrupted into Tarsus. In its immediate vicinity another tradition prevailed, 
which has evidently been borrowed from the emission of the Noetic raven. 
A neighl)ouring town, called Mallus, w as supposed to have received its de- 
nomination from the circumstance of a raven's having brought a lock of wool 
there. * The Tauric mountains, which rose above their city, w ere the ridge, 
to which the Tarsians, in the common spirit of local appropriation, fixed the 

' Tzetz. in Lycoph. vcr. 1206. ApoU. Bibl. lib. ii. c. 1. § 4. ApoUodorus makes tlieif 
father to be Bolus, and tiuir mother Anchinoe. But this amounts to the same thing: 
for Bdus or Baal was an oriental name of Jupiter, and Anchinofe was Theba under a some- 
what different appellation. From the evident personal identity of Theba and Anchinoi, I con- 
clude the name of the latter to be a corruption of Arehinoi or Archa-Nuc, which denotes the 
Ark or Argha of Noah. 

* Schol. in Apoll. Argon, lib. i. ver. 4. Plut. de Isid, p. 359. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 523. 
' Diod. Bibl. lib. v. p. 323. 

* Eustath. in Dionys. Pericg. ver. 870, 875. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 C 



aOa THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

suoK III. appulse of the Ark. There was another ridge, bearing the same name and 
similarly connected with the history of the deluge, which extended from 
eastern Armenia into Bactriana. The real appellation, as it is still accurately 
preserved by the natives of the country, is not Tauris, as the Greeks wrote 
it, but Tabris or Tebriz or Tabaris. This word, in perfect agreement with 
the Cilician tradition, denotes the place of the Baris : but the Bans was the 
same as Theba or Argha or the Ark. 



THE ORIGIN 



OF 



PAGAN IDOLATRY. 



BOOK IV. 



CHAPTER I. 



Concerning the identity and astronomical character of the great gods of 

the Gentiles. 



JL HOUGH the Gentiles were ostensibly polytheists ; yet, in absolute strict- 
ness of speech, they worshipped only one great compound deity, who was 
the reputed parent of the Universe. All their gods ultimately resolve them- 
selves into a single god, who was esteemed the great father : all their goddesses 
finally prove to be only one goddess, who was accounted the great mother : 
and these two beings at length appear as a sole divinity, who was thought lo 
partake of both sexes, and who was venerated as alike the father and the 
mother of the whole world. 

Yet, while the Gentiles were thus worshippers of one deity, they did not 
worship the Almighty Creator of heaven and of earth. The unity, which 
they adored, was not the Unity of the real Godhead ; though, since it was 
revered as God, it had thence by a necessary consequence the divine attri- 
butes ascribed to it. But, decorated as it was in such a manner, which has 
led many writers to mistake it for the genuine Deity ; it was after all a mere 
creature, or rather a very remarkable compound of creatures, which was 
worshipped in the place of the Creator. This will distinctly appear from 
every part of the character of the great UJiiversal parent of heatlien mytho- 
logy, when it shall have been carefully traced through all its various ramifi- 



206 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

cations. I begin the inquiry with discussing the identity and astronomical 
character of the gods of the Gentiles. 

I. The ancient mytliologists of all nations are unanimous in asserting, that 
each of their chief masculine deities is equally the Sun : and thence they no 
less explicitly tlian consistently maintain, that all these deities, though appa- 
rently distinct, are fundamentally one and the same. Their testimony there- 
fore sufficiently establishes what may be called the astronomical or celestial 
character of the pagan hero-gods. 

1. Thus, to descend to particulars, Saturn or Cronus is declared to be the 
Sun by Macrobius and Nonnus.' 

C. Jupiter is said to be the Sun by IMacrobius, Nonnus, and the author of 
\he poems whicli bear the name of Orpheus.' 

3. Pluto or Aidoneus is said to be the Sun by the Orphic poet : and this 
position follows also from his declared identity with other deities who are 
avowedly the Sun. So well indeed was it established, that Eusebius asks in 
astonishment, on what grounds Pluto and Sarapis, who were one and the 
■same infernal deity, could yet be identified with the solar orb. ' 

4. Bacchus or Dionusus is represented as the Sun by Virgil, Ausonius, 
Macrobius, Sophocles, and tlie Orphic poet.* 

5. Priapus is said to be the Sun by the Orphic poet, who identifies him 
with Protogonus and Dionusus.' 

6. That Apollo is the Sun, it may seem almost needless to prove, as he is 
specially the eolar deity of classical mythology. He is asserted however to 
be so, if proof be required, by Macrobius, Nonnus, the Orphic poet, and 
one of his own oracular responses : and Ovid inditferently calls him Phoebus 
and the Sun.^ 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 52. p. 214. Nonni Dionys. lib. xl. p. 683, 684, 6S5. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 23. p. 215. Nonni Dionys. lib. xl. p. 683, 684, 685. Orph. 
Fragni. p. 364. Edit. Gesn. Hymn. vii. 13. 

^ Orph. Fragra. p. 364. Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. iii. c. 13. p. 76. 

* V'irg. Georg. lib. i. ver. 6,7, 8. Orph. Fragm. apud Macrob. Saturn. lib. i. c. 18. Orph. 
Fragm. edit. Gesn, p. 363, 364. Auson. Epig. 30. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. Soph. 
Antig. vcr. Il62 — 1170- 

' Orph. Hymn. v. 1, 8, p. xxix. 1, 2. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 17. Nonni Dionys. lib. xl. Orph. Hymn, vii, 12. xxxiii. 
Orac. Vet. Opsop. p. 6. Ovid. Metam. lib, i. ver. 751, 752. lib. ii. ver. 1. 



THK ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 207 

7. Janus is said to be tlie Sun by IMacrobius. ' cw^f- >• 

8. Pan or Piianes is also said to be the Sun by Macrobius and the Orphic 
poet. * 

9. Hercules is said to be the Sun by Nonnus and Macrobius.' 

10. Vulcan or Hephestus is said to be the Sun by the Orpliic poet. The 
Egyptians called him Phtha and Ammun ; and esteemed him the same as 
Osiris, whom they professedly venerated as the Sun.* 

11. Esculapius or Asclepius is said to be the Sun by Macrobius. This 
opinion was so fully recognized by his worshippers, that Eusebius ridicules it 
as a well-known absurdity, on the ground that he is made the offspring of 
Apollo, who himself also is the Sun. Such hoivever was the constant ar- 
rangement of the genealogies of the pagan gods. The same deity is perpe- 
tually represented under the two-fold relation of son and father, according 
as he was viewed under different aspects.' 

12. Mercury or Hermes is said to be the Sun by Macrobius; and by the 
Orphic poet he is declared to be the same as Bacchus, who is similarly pro- 
nounced to be the Sun. This deity was the Herm-Anubis, or Thoth, or 
Taut, of the Egyptians and Phenicians ; who was reckoned the same as 
Cronus or the Sun. He was also the Theutates of the Celts, the Tuisto of 
the Goths, and the Twashta or Tat or Datta of the Hindoos. Tat is the 
same as Buddha or Sacya : and Buddha again is ultimately allowed to be 
Surya or the Sun.* 

13. Theus, Theuth, or Thoth, was likewise a name of Mars or Arcs. 
Hence Macrobius joins the god of war with Mercury, and declares him to 
be equally the Sun. The warrior Mercury was the Woden or Wudd of the 
Scythic tribes : and Wudd or Budd was the same as the Indo-Scythic Buddha, 
whose worship was brought from Asia into Europe by the Gothic emigrants 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 17. p. 195. c. 9. p. 157. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib.i. c.22, Orph. Fragm. apud Mac. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. Hymn. v. S. 
' Nonn. Dionys. lib. xl. Macrob. Sat. lib. i. c. 20. 

* Orph. Hymn. Ixv. 6. Jamb, dc Myster. sect. viii. c. 3. 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib.i. c. 20. Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. iii. c. 11. p. 75. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 19- Plut. de Isid. p. 36S. Euseb. IVa-p. Evan. lib. i. c. P, 
10. Moor's Hind. Pantb. p. 2i9. 



208 XHK OHIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. fpQj^ Cashgar and Bokhara, ^rej or Heres was among the eastern nations 
a title of the Sun : and J\fars, as the Latins compoundedly expressed the 
word, is but Ma- Arts or the great Ares. As Mars, from his identity with 
the solar Taut or Mercury, was called Theiis-Ares ; so Dionusus bore the kin- 
dred appellation of Dus-Ares. Each of these names is Thoth-Ai'cs or Thoth 
the Sun: and it may be observed, that from Thoth or 77?c«//j the Greeks 
borrowed their word Theus as the Latins did their Deiis, which they seve- 
rally used by way of eminence to denote the godhead. Our English word 
God has been taken from another appellation of this same deity, which toge- 
ther with our language we received from our Indo-Scythic ancestors. God, 
Ghaut, Godama, and Gautama, are varied titles of Wudd or Buddha; and 
Buddha is the same as Thoth or Hermes.' 

1 4. Osiris, Horus, and Serapis, are each said to be the Sun by Diodorus 
Siculus, Macrobius, Eusebius, an ancient oracle of Apollo, and the author 
of the HorapoUine hieroglyphics. ' 

15. Belus or Baal is said to be the Sun by Nonnus. Baal is a mere title, 
denoting Lord ; just as Moltch signifies King: and jBflfl/ and Motcch were 
clearly names of the same solar god. The former is variously compounded, 
in allusion to the various attributes of the deity who was known by it; as 
Baal-Peor, Baal-Zebub, Baal-Berith, and the like : the latter also expe- 
riences similar modifications, as Adrammelech, Anammelech, and Melchom 
which signifies the burning king or the king the Sun. Baal and Molech 
were the same as Jupiter, Cronus, Osiris, or Priapus. Thus the chief god 
of the Carthaginian Phenicians, whose bloody sacrifices plainly shew him to 
be Molech, is said to have been Cronus or Saturn : thus the phallic rites of 
Baal-Peor identity him with Osiris, Bacchus, Seth or Typhon, and Priapus 
whose name some have supposed to be the compound Peor-Apis : and thus 

" ©«u(raf>if, rour' ern flso; Afijj. Suid. Lex. Macrob. Sat. lib. i. c. 19. Mou, \i.iya. Hcsych. 
Lex. This ancient particle is the basis of the Hebrew Mad, the Sanscrit Malta, the Greek 
Megas, and the Latin Magnus; all of which descrihe greatness or excess. AoiKrafijv, tov 
Aiovua-ov. Hesych. Lex. 

"^ Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 10. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 20, 21. Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. iii. 
c. 12, 13. llorapoll. llierog. lib. i. § 71- 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 209 

the Babylonic Belus is spoken of as the Assyrian Jupiter or Zeus, and is like- 
wise pronounced tiie same as Cronus and the Sun.' 

16. Adonis or Attis is said to be the Sun by Macrobius ; and he is repeat- 
edly declared to bethe same as Osiris or Dionusus.' 

1 7. I cannot produce any positive declaration, that Dagon was the Sun : 
but we may clearly gather it in the way of induction. 

Sanchoniatho represents him as the brother of Cronus or Molech ; which, 
on the principles of heathen mythology, is in effect pronouncing him to be the 
same : and he adds, that he was Jupiter or Baal, considered as the patron 
of agriculture : Jupiter however, and Baal, and Cronus, were equally the 
Sun. 

We may also infer, that he was a solar god from the import of his name. 
Jerome tells us, that it signifies the fish of affliction : whence it is evident, 
that he esteemed it a compound word, and did not imagine it to be formed 
from a simple Hebrew radical by the addition of the servile letters. To 
produce then the sense, which this commentator ascribes to the title Dagon, 
we must conclude, that he supposed it to be made up of the two words Dag 
and On, or at least that such was the opinion of his informer. The conjec- 
ture I believe to be perfectly right ; though I doubt, whether affliction be the 
proper rendering of the latter word. On does indeed in the Hebrew signify 
distress or trouble: but it was likewise an Egyptian name of the Sun, in 
which manner it clearly ought to be understood in more than one passage of 
Holy Scripture. The Jews wrote the names of the false gods of the Gentiles 
by the ear : and the consequence has been, that, the sound frequently lead- 
ing them to express such names by words in their own language of a very 
different import, the original sense has often been wholly mistaken. Thus, 
in the present instance, what ought to have been written Dag-On, they wrote 
Dagon : and Jerome or his interpreter, supposing it to be compounded of 
two proper Hebrew words, has translated it accordingly. Thus also the 
Platonists, similarly writing by the ear, expressed the Egyptian On by their 
own On ; and then, with the usual vanity of their nation, fancying that it 

' Nonni Dionys. lib. xl. Pescenii. Fest. apud Lactant. Instit. lib. i. c. 21. Porph. de Ab- 
stin. lib. ii. § 56. Herod. Hist. lib. i. c. 181. Hieron. comm. in Hos. ix. 10. Serv. in Virg. 
;Encid. lib. i. vcr. 733. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 21. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2D 



210 THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATItY, 

BOOK IT. nnust of course be a Greek word, they explained it as meaning that which 
exists. In absolute strictness of speecli, the origin of the title Dag-On is 
not to be sought for either in Palestine or in Egypt. The Philistines, like the 
Phenicians and the Shepherd-kings, were of the family of the pastoral Palli 
or Indo-Scythfe : and they brought with them into their western settlements 
the worsliip of that god, whom, they had l)ecn accustomed to adore in their 
native Cashgar. In the high region of the Indian Caucasus or Meru and in 
the extensive empire of Ava, Buddha is still venerated under the name of 
Dakpo and Dagun : and the Egyptian On or Aun is the same word as the 
famous Hindoo triliteral monosyllable Om or Aum. Dag does indeed sig- 
nify a fish in the Hebrew ; but, as the Philistines brought the name with 
them from the confines of India, they must have received it in the first in- 
stance from their Cuthic ancestors of Babylonia, where tlieChaldee, a dialect 
of the Hebrew, is known to have been spoken. That they received it in the 
sense of ajish, is manifest from the character of their god Buddha ; wiio, as 
Dagun, is styled the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish. This is yet 
further manifest from the character of Vishnou, who is allowed to have been 
incarnate in the person of Buddha, and who therefore must ultimately be 
identified with him. Now the form of Vishnou in the Matsya Avatar is that 
of a man joined to or issuing from a fish ; a form, Avhich exactly corresponds 
with the preceding title of Buddha. But the form of Dagon was precisely 
the same as that of Vishnou in the Matsya Avatar ; the same also, as that of 
Buddha-Dagun, according to his title of the sovereign prince in the belli/ of 
thejish; the same moreover, as that of the Oannes or Odacon or Anne-Dot 
of Babylon, whence this hieroglyphical mode of worship originated. Hence 
I think it evident, that the Dagon of the Philistines is the Buddha-Dagun of 
the Indo-Scythas. Buddha however is pronounced to be the same as the 
Hindoo triad Brahma- Vishnou-Siva conjointly. The title therefore of Om is 
equally bestowed upon Buddha and upon this triad : and Buddha and the triad 
are alike declared to be astronomically tlie Sun. But, among the Egyptians, 
On was a name of the solar deity. Consequently, the import of the word 
Dagon will be the Sun xvorsliipped under the form of a jish. 

It may be observed, that the oriental Buddha is not only called Dagun and 
Dak-Po, but likewise Pouti-Sat. Tliis serves additionally to prove, that the 
name of the Philist^an Dagon was brought by his worshippers into Palestine, 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 211 

noi frmned subsequently to their arrival there. Sanchoniatho informs us, that '^"'*'- '• 
one of the titles of Dagon was Siton. But Siton is Setli or Sid united in 
composition witii On : and Seth, which is the Egyptian name of Typlion, 
is evidently the Indo-Scythic Sat. The Dagon and Siton, in short, of the 
Philistines and Phenicians are plainly the Buddha-Dagun and the Pouti-Sat 
or Buddha-Sat of the Cuthic Hindoos. 

That Dagon is astronomically the Sun, may be yet further argued from the 
character of Atargatis or Derceto, the Syrian Venus. This goddess was in 
form precisely the same as Dagon, allowing only for the difference of sex. 
Now Derceto is declared to be the same as Isis : and Isis, as we are assured 
by Diodorus, was the IVIoon. If then the female deity was the INIoon, we 
may safely conclude, from the genius of old mythology, that the correspond- 
ing male deity was the Sun. ' 

18. The very same astronomical character is sustained by the triple god of 
the Hindoos, Brahma- Vishnou-Siva ; and not only by this preeminent triple 
god, but likewise by all their other male deities. Each of tliese, we are as- 
sured, ultimately resolves himself into Brahm; while Brahm, from whose 
unity springs the subordinate triad, is acknowledged to be the Sun. The 
peculiar mode, in which the Hindoos identify their three great gods with the 
solar orb, is a curious specimen of the physical refinements of ancient my- 
thology, jlt flight and in the "west, the Sun is Vishnou ; he is Brahma, in 
the east and in the mornii/g ; from noon to evenitig, he is Siva. ' 

19. 1 he Persian INIithras also is well known to have been the Sun : and 
accordingly he is declared to be so by Strabo, Hesychius, Suidas, Nonnus, 
Slatius, and in an ancient inscription preserved by Martianus Capella.' 

20. The Druidical Hu, who is clearly the same character as the Greek 
Huas or Dionusus and who is thence rightly so called by Dionysius, is ano- 
ther of the gentile gods, who in his celestial capacity is undoubtedly the Sun. 
The smallest of the small is Hu the mighty, in the world's judgment, says 

' Sanchon. apud Euseb. Praep. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. Hicron. Comm. apud Seld. de diic 
Syr. synt. ii. c. 3. p. 203. Parkhurst's Hcb. Le.\. vox HJi. Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 285. Simp, 
in Arist. Ausc. Phys. lib. iv. Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 10. Symes's Einbass. to Ava. vol. ii. p. 1 10. 

* Moor's Hind. Pantt. p. 6, 9, 13, 33, 277, 294. Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 267. vol. v. p. 254. 

' Strab. Gcog. lib. xv. p. 732. Ilesycb. Lc.\. Suid. Lex. Nonni Dionys. lib. xj. Slat. 
Thebaid.lib. i. ver. 715 et iufra. Soli invicto Mithrce. Inscript. apud Mart. Capell. lib. iii. 



212 . THIi: ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. the bard Rhys Brydydd, meaning, I apprehend, that he had become contempt- 
ible in the eyes of the evangelized Britons : ytt he is the greatest and lord 
over us, we sincerely believe, and our god of mystery. L ight is his course and 
sxcift : a particle of lucid sun-shine is his car. He is great on land and seas, 
the greatest zvhom I shall behold, greater than the worlds. Let us beware 
of offering mean indignity to him, the great and bountiful. Sometimes this 
god was called Beli, which the Romans wrote Belivus ; an appellation, 
plainly deducible from the oriental Bel, Belus, or Baal : and, since IIu, 
Beli, and the Sun, were alike celebrated as the sovereign of heaven and the 
supreme lord of Britain, it is manifest, that Hu or Beli was the solar deity. 
The name appears, among the different Celtic tribes, to have been variously 
expressed Beli, Belis, Belen, Belatucader or the illustrious Beli, and Abel- 
lion or father Baal the Sun ; which last, if I mistake not, is precisely the 
same compound title as the classical Apollo or Apollon : but, however it 
may be varied, Selden rightly refers its origin to the eastern Baal, and pro- 
nounces the god who bore it to be the solar divinity of the Hyperboreans.' 

21. The same mythological ideas prevailed also in America at the period of 
its first discovery. The Mexicans worshipped the Sun, esteeming him the 
offspring of their principal god Vitzliputzli. But this circumstance, by the 
general analogy of Paganism, shews, that Vitzliputzli was himself the Sun. 
Thus the Hindoos considered their triad as the offspring of Brahin ; thus the 
Egyptians reckoned Horus the son of Osiris, and HeHus the son of Plitha or 
Vulcan ; and thus the Greeks feigned Esculapius to be the son of Apollo, 
Apollo to be the son of Jupiter, and Jupiter again to be the son of Cronus : 
while yet Brahm and the great triad, Osiris and Horus, Phtha and Helius, 
Apollo and Esculapius, Cronus and Jupiter, were all equally and severally 
the solar orb. * 

22. The Sun was likewise the principal god of the Peruvians ; and his 
worship was joined with that of Virachoca : a junction, by which it was in- 
timated, that Virachoca himself was the Sun, when his character was viewed 
astronomically.' 

' Dionys. Pericg. ver. 565—574. Davies's Myth, of Brit. Druids, p. 110, 116, 117, 120, 
336, 562. Seld. de diis Syr. synt'. ii. c. 1. p. 143. 
* Purch. Pilgrim, b. viii. c. 11. 
^ Purch. Pilgrim, b. ix. c. 10, 11. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 213 

II As most of the great gods of the Gentiles are declared by the old my- 
thological writers to be each separately the Sun ; so we may naturally expect 
to find, that their general unitual identity would be a prominent feature in the 
arcane theology of Paganism. Such accordingly is the case : and the special 
name, by which this mystic intercommunion of deities was usually designated, 
appears, as we learn from Damascius, to have been in the Greek language 
Theocrasia.^ 

Many are the declarations to this purpose, Avhich are still extant. Thus 
Damascius and Suidas assert the identity of Osiris and Adonis ; and Clemens 
Alexandrinus teaches that of Dionusus and Attis : while Macrobius informs 
us, that Adonis, Attis, Osiris, Horus, and Liber, were all equally the Sun ; 
and Ausonius, that Bacchus, Osiris, Phanac, Dionusus, Liber, and Aido- 
neus, were but one and the same god under different names. * In a similar 
manner, the Orphic poet declares, that Jupiter, Pluto, and Bacchus were 
only varied appellations of the Sun : and Diodorus and Suidas tell us, that 
Osiris and Bacchus were one divinity. ' So agiin : Vulcan or Plitha, as we 
learn from Jamblichus, was the same as Osiris : and Pan, as we are taught 
by Diodorus, was the same as Serapis, Osiris, Dionusus, Pluto, Ammon, and 
Jupiter.* Thus likewise Anubis or Hermanubis, the Egyptian Thoth or Mer- 
cury, was no other, we are told, than Cronus or Saturn; wiio himself again was 
one deity with the Molech or Baal of Palestine. ' With the Egyptian Thoth 
or Taut, the oriental Tutor Buddha clearly identifies himself: and, as Brahma, 
Vishnou, and Siva, are mutually the same deity; so they are severally de- 
clared to be one with Buddha.* Janus, in like manner, as we learn from 
Nigidius, was the same as Apollo; and thence the same as Cronus or Sa- 
turn, though the latter was reputed to have been his host.' Mars again, in 

' Oirifiv ovra, nai Aowviv xara ri)v /Ai/vrocijy ©EOKPAHIAN. Dainas. vit. Isid. apud 
Phot. Bibl. p. 104.9. 

* Damas. ut supra. Suid. Le.\. vox 'Hfa'iVxoj. Clem. Alex. Cohort, p. 12. Macrob. 
Saturn, lib. i. c. 21, IS. Ausoii. Epig. 30. 

' Orph. Fragm. Gesn. p. 364. Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 13. Suid. Lex. 

* jAmb. de Mysler. sect. viii. c. 3. Diod. Bibl. lib.'i. p. 22. 

' Plut. de Isid. p. 368. Pcscen. Fest. apud Lactan. Instil, lib. i. c. 21. Porphyr. de Ab- 
stin. lib. ii. § 56. 

' Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 6, 9. Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 285. vol. v. p. 254. 
' Nigid. apud Maciob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 9> 7. 



CHAP. I. 



MOOK IV, 



214 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

the judgment of Macrobius, was one with Bacchus and Mercury; and Apollo, 
according to the Clarian oracle, with Horus, Osiris, JBacchus, and the 
Sun.' So likewise Dionysius tells us, that Bacchus was the great god of the 
Britons ; and Diodorus, that they worshipped Apollo or the Sun in a vast 
circular temple.' But we find, that the national title of this deity was Hu 
or Beli, that he had all the attributes of Bacchus and Ajjollo, and that he 
was specially adored in the immense circle of Stone-Hengc.' Hu, Bucchus, 
and Apollo, then were one god : and, as Hu had the attributes both of Bac- 
chus and Apollo ascribed to him ; so, as we learn from Macrobius, the 
worship of these two latter deities prevailed in mystic union on the sacred 
hill Parnassus/ 

But, on a subject like this, it were almost endless to multiply authorities. 
Suffice it to say in conclusion, that, according to the Orphic poet, Protogo- 
nus or the first-born, Phanes, Priapus, Titan, Helius or the Sun, Jupiter, 
Pan, Hercules, Cronus, Prometheus, Bacchus, Apoilo, Pean, Adonis, and 
Cupid, are all one divinity : according to Sophocles, Titan or the Sun is 
the same as that Prometheus, whom the Orphic poet declares to be Cronus; 
according to Statius, Titan, Osiris, and iMitliras, are only different names 
of the solar god Phoebus or Apollo : and, according to Nonnus, Hercules, 
Belus, Ammon, Apis, Cronus, Jupiter, Scrapis, Phaethon, jMithras, and 
Apollo, are all fundamentally one and the same god ; and that god is Helius 
or the Sun.* 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 19. Orac. Vet. Opsop. p. 6. 

* Dionys. Perieg. ver. 565 — 574. Diod. Bibl. lib. ii. p. 130. 

* Davies's Mythol. p. 113, 126, 562. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. 

' Orph. Hymn. v. 1, 8, 9. vii. 2, 13. x. 1, 12. xi. 1. xii. 2, 7- Fragm. p. 36-1. Hymn, 
xxxiii. 1, 3. Iv. Ivii. Soph. (Edip, Colon, vcr. 57- Stat. Thebaid. lib. i. ver 727—741. 
Nonni Dionys. lib. .\I. 



CHAPTER II. 



Respecting certain remarkable opinions which the Gentiles entertained of 

the Sun. 



I. I Hus it sufficiently appears, that the chief masculine deity of the Gentiles 
was the Sun, adored, agreeably to the mystic theocrasy of Paganism, under a 
great variety of names both in different countries and even in the same coun- 
try; which names, in the popular worship, were erected into so many distinct 
gods. But, A\hile the Sun was their acknowledged principal divinity, they 
entertained some very remarkable opinions concerning him, which are by no 
means applicable to the literal Sun : and the origin of these opinions is in 
fact explained by themselves ; and that in a manner, Avhich is sufficiently in- 
telligible and unambiguous. 

1. Among the ancient Egyptians, the Sun was represented under the figure 
of a man sailing in a ship upon the ocean.' Sometimes the ship was support- 
ed on the back of a crocodile : sometimes the man appeared, floating in the 
ship, but at the same time seated upon the aquatic lotos : and sometimes 
the lotos was simply his vehicle, tlie ship being omitted.' At other times 

' Clem. Alex. Slrom. lib. v. p. 566. Jamb, de INIyster. sect. vii. p. 151. Porph. de ant. 
nymph, p. 256. Dut. dc Isid. p.36i. 

* Clem. Alex. Strom, lib. v. p. 566. Porph. apud Euseb. Praep. E\an. lib. iii. c. 9- p. 69.. 
Jamb. deMyster. sect. vii. p. 151. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATIO . 
216 

DooK IV. again he was depicted, not as a full grown man, but as a child, yet still seated 
within the calix of the mystic lotos : and in the Bembine table we find yet 
another variety; for there the place of the man or the infant is occupied by 
that amphibious animal the frog, which, as it similarly appears floating on the 
lotos, must similarly be considered as a symbol of the Sun.' The later 
heathens attempted to give various refined physical reasons for such an ex- 
traordinary mode of hieroglyphical representation : but it yet remains not 
very easy to conceive, why the literal Sun should have been esteemed a 
mariner ; why the literal Sun should have been placed in a ship, and set 
afloat on the ocean ; why the literal Sun should use the aquatic lotos as his 
most proper vehicle ; why the literal Sun should be supported in his ship on 
the back of a crocodile ; why the literal Sun should be most aptly symbolized 
by a watery frog or a new-born infant in the calix of a lotos. This last part 
of his character seemed so thoroughly ridiculous and unnatural to Julius 
Firmicus, that he could not forbear exclaiming, JVho ever beheld the Sun 
personate a boy?'' And well indeed might he ask such a question, if the 
literal Sun were intended : but just as well might it be additionally asked> 
How can the fiery Sun be a xvatery frog, and with what propriety can he 
be viewed as floating in the cup of a lotos or as steering a ship over the 
waves of the ocean ? 

2. Yet, however singular these notions may be, they are far from being 
peculiar to the Egyptian school of theology. Just the same mode of symbo- 
lizing still prevails among the Hindoos : and doubtless in both nations it ori- 
ginated from a similar train of ideas. The three great gods of Hindostan are 
all equally declared to be the Sun : but still we find them, in the mythology of 
that country, either seated on the lotos ; or sailing over the ocean in a ship ; 
or floating upon the surface of the great deep, sometimes on the leaf of a 
sacred tree, and sometimes on a huge sea-serpent coiled up in the form of a 
boat.' So completely indeed do such speculations enter into the creed of 
the Brahmens, that one of the members of their triad is said to have been 
bom as an infant out of the lotos, while another specially bears the name of 

• Plut. de Isid. p. 355. Fig. in tab. Berab. * Jul. Firm, de error, prof. rel. p. 19. 

* See Plate II. Fig. 1. 



THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 217 

Narayan or he "who moves on the waters. In exact accordance with this *^"'^''* "• 
part of his character, their solar god, under his title of Narayan, is repre- 
sented upon a krge scale in the royal gardens of Cathmandu, as reclining on 
a sort of bed which appears to float in the literal water of an artificial tank 
or fountain. ' 

3. This same floating Sun was not unknown to the Greeks, whose theology 
was radically the same as that of Eg}'pt and Hindostan. A curious fragment 
of Stesiciiorus is yet extant, wherein he celebrates a voyage of the solar deity 
over the broad expanse of the ocean in a golden cup. An exactly similar 
story is told of Hercules, who was himself the Sun ; on which IVIacrobius 
justly remarks, that his cup, as well as the cup of Bacchus, was a ship. 
These fables originated from the circumstance of the yellow or golden cup of 
the lotos being employed to represent the ship of the Sun. The notion may 
be easily traced in the mythology of Greece and Egj'pt, but it is distinctly- 
avowed in that of Hindostan. We are told, that the cup of the lotos and 
the ship of the solar Siva mean the same thing ; that this ship, and the sacred 
cup or dish in which fruit and flowers are wont to be sacrificially offered to 
the deities, are distinguished by one appellation ; and that the cup, being 
thus designed to represent the ship, ought properly to be shaped like a boat, 
though it is sometimes made of a round or of a square form. Similar ideas 
prevailed among the Greeks. Macrobius not only tells us, that the cup of 
Hercules, Bacchus, or the Sun, was a ship ; but he asserts, that the goblets, 
known by the name of Carches'ta, were so called in reference to the art of 
navigation : and he adds, that it was one of these Carchesia, which Jupiter 
gave to Alcmen^ the mother of Hercules. So far indeed was the notion from 
being lost, that we may collect from a fragment of Menander cited by Macro- 
bius, that at one period it was not unusual among the Greeks to designate 
ships by the appellation of cups, much perhaps in the same manner as we are 
wont to call them vessels. The maritime Venus-Colias, who was astronomi- 
cally the jNIoon, had her sacred navicular goblet, no less than Bacchus and 
Hercules and the Sun ; though its place was often supplied by a large circular 
sea-shell, within which the goddess appears standing upright : and wc must 

' Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 52. vol.ii. p. 313. Moor's Hind. Pamh. passim. 
Pag. Idol. VOL. II. i2 E 



BOOK IV. 



218 THF. OUIGIV OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

not omit to observe, that these boat-like cups or imitative ships of the solar 
deity were sometimes adorned with the figures of doves perching upon their 
covers. ' 

4. So strongly was this idea of a mariner Sun impressed upon the minds of 
the ancient pagans, that they even transferred it to the sphere. Not content 
with making the Sun sail over the ocean in a ship, they considered the whole 
solar system as one large vessel ; in which the seven planets act as sailors, 
while the Sun, as the fountain of ethereal light, presides as the pilot or cap- 
tain. These eight celestial mariners, who navigate the ship of the sphere, 
are clearly the astronomical representatives of the eight great gods of Egypt; 
all of whom, including the Sun as their head, were wont (according to Por- 
phyry) to be depicted, not standing on dry land, but sailing over the ocean 
in a ship.* 

5. To the Sun, thus steering his planetary ship through the midst of hea- 
ven, the old theologists ascribed the guardianship of a gate or door, assigning 
another similar door to the protection of the Moon. These imaginary doors 
they placed in the two opposite tropics : and from them, they taught, that all 
human souls were mysteriously born ; while the Sun and the Moon were 
deemed the male and female principles of generation. Hence the former was 
esteemed the creative Nous or Mind : and, just as the solar Brahm of the 
Hindoos, and the solar Mithras of the Persians, were each believed to have 
triplicated themselves, and thus to have produced three subordinate gods, 
each of whom was nevertheless the Sun ; so the solar Nous, who was reck- 
oned the Life or Soul of the World, was thought to have especially begotten 
three younger Noes, though all human souls were generally born from the 
astronomical door over which he presided with his seven planetary companions 
in his celestial ship.' Much the same notions respecting this birth of souls 

' Fragm. Stesich. apud Athen. Deipnos. lib. xi. p. 469. Maciob. Saturn, lib. v. c. 21. 
Apc'lod. Bibl. lib. ii. c. 4. § 10. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 521. Athen. Deipnos. lib. xi. p. 474, 
487, 490. 

* Martian. Capell. Satyric. lib. ii. p. 43. Herod, lib. ii. c. 145. Porph. de ant. nymph, p. 
256. 

' Hence, in reference to the birth of Noah from the door, he, who was esteemed the Nou& 
or Intellect of the Unncrse, was wont to be denominated Nom from the door. ITffi Ss rr^y 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATllY. 219 

may be traced in the sacred writings of the Hindoos. We are told, tiiat there *''**'' "' 
are seven worlds or heavens ; and that in one of these all living creatures, 
which are destroyed by a deluge either of fire or water at the close of each 
great period, are born again : whence it is called the xvorld of' births. And 
this world of births is immediately connected with Om or the triple solar 
divinity, the On of the Egyptians ; for the devout aspirant, whenever he pro- 
nounces the sacred word Om, is directed to employ his thoughts with the 
following meditation. Om! earth! sky! heaven! middle region! place of 
births! 7nanslo?i of the blessed! abode of truth.' 

II. Sometimes we find the Sun closely united with the ocean, though no 
particular specification is made of his ship. 

Thus, in the Hindoo mythology, the regent of the waters is said to have 
made a road in untrodden space to receive the footsteps of the Sun, whose 
office it is to restrain the daring profligacy of the wicked : and this mysterious 
circumstance, we are told, is the most proper subject of meditation for the 
aspirant who is about to purify himself by swimming. Thus, in the mytho- 
logy of the old Atlantians, the Sun was thought to have been plunged into 
the Eridanus or Po; which, like the Nile of Egypt, was a sacred river 
symbolizing the ocean : a story, whence the classical tale of Phaethon has ma- 
nifestly been borrowed ; but Phaethon, though made by the poets the offspring 
of the Sun, was really the Sun himself. And thus, in the mythology of the 
ancient Mexicans which their fathers certainly brought with them out of Asia, 
the Sun is feigned to have once been drowned in the sea, when a former 
world came to its close, and when all living things perished by water. * 

III. Sometimes again we meet with legends, the substance of which is, 
that the Sun was pursued by the Ocean, that he escaped by taking refuge in a 
floating island, and that he finally vanquished his aqueous enemy. Fable* 
of this description occur in Egypt, in Greece, and even in America. 

1. Herodotus tells us, that near Buto there was a deep and broad lake, 

Gregor. Nazianz. de Spirit. Sanct. Gregory unhappily fancies, as many raadcrns have don« 
after him, that by the mundane Nous the pagans darkly meant the Holy Ghost. 

' Porphyr. de antr. nymph, p. 263 — 268. Macrob. in somn. Scip. lib, i. c. 20. p. 69, 
Proc. in Plat. Tim. p. 93, 9-i, 95. Asiat. Res. vol. v. p. 348, 351. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. 
C.18. p. 201. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. v. p. 360. Died. Bibl. lib. iii. p. I90. Sophoc. Elect, ver. 826. Purch. 
Filgriin. b. viii, c. 13. p. 8O6. 



220 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN' IDOLATUY. 

BOOK IV. ip which was a reputed floating island. In this island there w as a large tem- 
ple dedicated to the Sun, whom the Egyptians most usually called Horus as 
the Greeks did Phabus or Apollo. The temple was furnished with three al- 
tars, agreeably to the prevailing opinion that the Sun triplicated himself or 
produced out of his own essence three younger divinities. As for the island, 
it was not supposed to have been always in a floating state, but to have lost 
its firmness in consequence of the following circumstance. When Typhon, 
w hom the Egyptians acknowledged to be no other tlian the sea, was roaming 
round the world in pursuit of the solar deity Horus, Latona, who was one 
of the primitive eight gods and w ho dwelt in the city Buto, received him in 
trust from Isis, and concealed him from the rage of his adversary in the sa- 
cred island Chemmis, which then first began to float. Afterwards he became 
suflSciently powerful to quit his place of refuge and to expel Typhon who had 
usurped his dominions : and his own reign then commenced in the place of 
the temporary usurped domination of the ocean.' 

2. The Greeks had a story, in all main points substantially the same, re- 
specting their Apollo ; who, as every schoolboy well knows, is so decidedly 
the solar god, that the names of Apollo and the Sun are always used by the 
poets convertibly and indifferently. The Hellenic fable indeed is palpably 
nothing more than a repetition of the Egyptian one, adapted to a different 
country. Python, we are told, was an immense serpent, the offspring of the 
earth, gendered of the slime produced by the deluge. While Latona was 
pregnant with Apollo and Diana, or the Sun and the Moon, this mon- 
ster so implacably pursued her, that no place could be found upon the sur- 
face of the whole earth where she might be delivered. Neptune therefore 
caused the island of Delos to emerge out of the sea, in order that an asy- 
lum might be afforded to the persecuted goddess. Here she brought forth in 
safety her double offspring, the Sun and the Moon, grasping an olive-tree in 
her hands during the pains of parturition. At this period Delos was sup- 
posed to have floated in an erratic state on the surface of the waters : but 
Apollo afterwards rendered it stable ; and at length slew the serpent Python, 
which had pursued his mother with so much implacability. 

• Herod, lib. ij.c. 156, 144. 



THE ORICilN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 221 

In the present legend, Python is obviously the Eg}'ptian Typhon or the *^"^''* "' 
ocean, the infant Apollo is tlie infant Horus, the floating island Delos oc- 
cupies the place of the floating island Chemmis, and the Egfean sea is sub- 
stituted for the lake of Buto. We additionally learn from the classical fable, 
that Python or Typhon is not the ocean simply, but the ocean at the time of 
the flood ; that the reason, why Latona could find no resting place, was, be- 
cause the M hole earth was subjected to the dominion of Python, or in other 
w ords was laid under water ; and that the precise period, when the Sun and 
the Moon were born in the floating island, was that of the deluge. Such 
being the case, since the classical tale is palpably the same as the Egyptian, 
the latter must be understood in a similar manner. The time consequently, 
when the solar god Horus was obliged to take refuge in the floating island 
Chemmis, was that of the general flood : and, as Typhon or the ocean was 
the agent that thus compelled him to conceal himself, the ocean at the epoch 
of the flood must evidently have been intended.' 

3. We find another parallel legend among the Peruvians ; which strongly 
tends to prove, that their theology must have sprung from a common origin 
w ith that of Greece and Egypt. When all mankind were swept away by 

' Hyg. Fab. 140. Ovid. Metam. lib. i. ver. 434—440. lib. vi. ver. 332—334. Virg. 
i5ineid. lib. iii. ver. 75. Tzetz. in Lycoph. ver. 401. Callim. llyraii. ad Dian. ver. 35. 
Tzetzes says, that Asteria, the sister of Latona, was first metamorphosed into a tjuail and af- 
terwards into the erratic island Delos. Asteria however was the same as Latona herself, as is 
evident from the circumstance of that goddess being equally said to have been changed into a 
quail. Serv. in ^neid. lib. iii. ver. 72. Latona th'-Ttfore must ultimately be identified with 
the floating island. In fact, both she and Asteria (the Astoreth of the Phenicians) were 
equally the great mother or receptacle of the hero-gods, here symbolized by a floating island. 
As the raven was a bird sacred to Apollo, though deemed a messenger of evil tidings: so I 
suspect, that in this part of the legend a quail has been substituted for a dove. Supposing this 
to be the case, we shall have an exact inversion of the Hindoo fable, which relates, that at the 
time of the deluge Parvati first assumed the form of the ship Argha and afterwards that of a 
dove. I am the more confirmed in my conjecture, because we find, that Jupiter himself 
was sometimes thought to have taken the shape of a quail no less than his paramour Latona, 
much in the same manner as Siva metamorphoses himself into a dove in order that he may still 
join his consort Argha when changed into the female of that bird. Schol. in Pind. Nera. Od. 
i. ver. 2. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 523. ApoHod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 10. § 3. 



222 THE OaiGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

the waters of the deluge, a personage named Virachoca emerged from the 
great lake Titiaca, and became the founder of Cuzco. 'llien tfie human 
species began once more to multiply upon the face of the earth. The wor- 
ship of this Virachoca was joined with that of the Sun ; or rather, v\hen 
viewed astronomically, he was himself the solar god. Accordingly, tliC Pe- 
ruvians shewed in the same sacred lake Titiaca a small island ; where tliej 
feigned that the Sun hid himself, and was thus preserved during the general de- 
struction of mankind by the flood. In this island, as in the Egyptian island 
Chemmis and the Greek island Delos, there was a temple dedicated to the 
Sun ; and the place itself was accounted holy. Here then, tiie symbolical 
serpent being omitttd, we are liteially informed, that the Sun concealed him- 
self in a small island, in order tiiat he miglit be saved from the fury of an 
universal deluge.' 

IV. As the Sun is thus set afloat by the old mythologists in a ship, in the 
cup of the lotos, or in a small erratic island ; and as his eventful voyage is 
expressly referred to the time of the floud : so we may further observe, that 
he is represented as peculiarly delighting to haunt the sacred mountain, which 
first raised its head above the retiring waters, and which received upon its 
summit the Ark of him who was preserved trom the general destruction. 

Thus the favourite residence of the Greek solar deity was Parnassus, 
where Hellenic legends fixed the appulse of the sliip ot Deucalion : thus 
the solar Siva of the Hindoos, the mariner of the ship Argha, is exhibited 
as dwelling conspicuous in his eight forms on the Cashgarian peak of Meru 
or Cailasa, where the ark of Menu and his seven companions rests after the 
deluge : and thus, in the Zend-Avesta, the Sun is described as ruling over 
the world from the top of mount Albordi, which is said to have been the first 
land that appeared above the waves of the retreating flood. 

V. Nor yet are these the whole of the wonderful things, which the gen- 
tile mythologists tell us of the Sun. 

The old Orphic poet, the priests of Egypt, and the Brahmens of Hin- 
dostan, agree in maintaining, that he was born out of an egg, which had 
floated on the ocean, and which had been tossed about at the mercy of the 

* Cieza apud Purch. Pilgrim, b. ixi c. 9. p. 874. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 223 

elements : and he was thus produced, both in his simple state of unity, and ♦'"*''• "• 
as he had become three by a mysterious act of self-multiplication.' Certain 
powerful families, both in Hellas, Hindostan, and Peru, which claimed a 
proud sacerdotal and military preeminence above the subject multitude, af- 
fected to trace their descent from him, and in an eminent manner styled 
themselves Hdiadce or Sinya-bans or Cliilclreii of the Sun : yet was he 
likewise acknowledged to be the common father both of hero-gods and of 
men, the primeval being from whom all were equally born, the personage 
who himself was specially the first-produced.' Under the names either of 
Sames or Ares or Horus or Helius, as the Greeks rightly translated the last 
of these titles all of which equally denote the Sun, he was claimed by the 
Assyrians and the Egyptians as one of their most ancient fabulous sove- 
reigns : and, as the latter gave him a crocodile for the vehicle of himself 
and his shi[) and as their ancient king Meni-S was sa\ed on the back of a 
crocodile during the prevalence of an imaginary local deluge, as the Egypt- 
ians denominated tliat animal Campsa and as the word Campsa also signi- 
fied an ark ; it is evident, that Menes and the Sun must be the same per- 
son, and that the hieroj;! s pliical crocodile and the ship of the Sun must 
mean the same tiling ' In fine, the Hindoo Brahmens assert, that the solar 
deity, who is di.^tinguished by such various and remarkable characteristics, 
began his devotion immediately after the flood, and continued it clLring the 
space of a hundred years.* 

VI. Notions like these would in themselves be sufficirnt to induce a be- 
lief, that, when the Gentiles worshipped the Sun and the Host of Heaven, 
they did not worship them simply, but associated with them certain human 
characters who had really performed the actions which were thence ascribed 
to the celestial bodies. Such a conclusion would be the almost inevitable 
result of the preceding inquiry, even if no direct information had been af- 

' Orpb. Hjmn, v. 1, 2, 8. Fragm. apud Olympiod. Coiiim. in Phileb. Gcsn. edit. p. 410. 
Euseb. Pr«p. Evan. lib. iii. c. 1 1. Iiistit. of Menu. c. 1. § 9- 12. 

» Orph. Hymn. V. 1, 3, 8, t). Instil, of Menu. c. i. § 9, 31, 32, 33. 

^ Chron. Paschal, p. 37. Died. Bibl. lib. i. p. 13. Palxph. Fragm. p. C5. llerod. lib. 
ii. c. 4, 69- t)iod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 80. Ka/x\)/«, fijjx^j. llesych. Lex. 

* Asiat. Res. toI. iii. p. 157. 



2i24 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAK IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. forded us on the subject : but, so far is this from being the case, that the an- 
cient mythologists have been as unreservedly communicative as could well 
liave been desired. 

Hesiod informs us, that the demon-gods were the souls of those men, who 
lived in the first or golden age, and who were afterwards worshipped by their 
posterity on account of their extraordinary virtues.' The author, who writes 
under the name of Ha'mes-Trismegistus, asserts, that Esculapius, Osiris, 
and Thoth, were aH holy men, whose souls were worshipped after their death 
by the Egyptians.* IMuch the same account is in effect given by Diodorus, 
when he tells us, that Osiris, Vulcan, and other cognate deities, were all 
originally sovereigns of the people, by whom they were venerated.' Hence 
the fathers were wont to reproach the Gentiles with their adoration of what 
were no better than so many dead men, whose very bones and coffins were 
shewn as relics.* In a similar manner, some of the more intelligent among 
the Hindoos fairly acknowledge, that their gods were once men like them- 
selves : and the Buddhists, though they claim the highest honours for their 
deity, confess that after all he was but a mortal.* But perhaps the most system- 
atic and explicit testimony to this purpose is to be found in the writings of 
Cicero, because he positively declares that such was the occult doctrine taught 
in the Mysteries. After enumerating various instances of men being ele- 
vated after their death to the rank of gods, What, says he to the person 
with whom he is engaged in disputation, is not almost all heaven, not to carry 
on this detail any further, jilkd xvith the human race ? But, if I should 
search and examine antiquity, and go to the bottom of this affair from the 
things which the Greek writers have delivered, it would be found, that even 
those very gods themselves, who are deemed the Dii majorum gentium, had 
their 07'iginal here belozv, and ascended from hence into heaven. Inquire to 
whom those sepulchres belong, which are so commonly shewn in Greece. Re- 
member, for you are initiated, what you have been taught in the Mysteries : 

' Hesiod. Opcr. ct dier. lib. i. ver. 120 — 125. 

* Hcrm. Trism. apud Medc's Apost. of latter times, parti, c. 4. 
» Died. Bib), lib. i. p. 13, 14, 15. 

* Clem. Alex. Cohort, p. 29. Arnob. adv. gent. lib. vi. Jul. Tirni. dc error, prof. lel. p. 4, 13. 

* Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 14. Asial. Res. vii. p. 31,33. vol. viii. p. 352. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 225 

you will then at length understand, how far this matter may be carried.^ 
Accordingly, he himself tells us in another place, that such was the univer- 
sal doctrine of the Mysteries, wherever they might be celebrated : which 
in eflFect proves the very point I am contending for ; namely that all the sys- 
tems of pagan mythology originated from a common source, and taught the 
same speculative notions. JVhat think you, says he, of those, who assert, 
that valiant or famous or powerful men have obtained divine honours after 
death, and that these are the very gods now become the object of our adora- 
tion? Euhemerus tells us, when these gods died, and where they were bu- 
ried. I forbear to speak of the sacred rites of Eleusis, into which the rnost 
remote nations are initiated ; Ipasi by Samothrace and the Mysteries of 
Lemnos, whose hidden Orgies are celebrated in darkness and amidst the thick 
shades of groves and forests : since we learn from them rather the nature 
of things, than that of beings xcho may properly be esteemed gods^ 

1. The gods of the Gentiles being thus mere men, the question is, how they 
came to be worshipped in conjunction with the Sun and the Host of Heaven. 
Here again we are by no means at a loss for the desired information. 

The notion, that the souls of the hero-gods were either translated to the 
celestial bodies or were emanations fi'om them, constituted a very prominent 
part of ancient Paganism. 

Thus we find it to be a prevailing idea, that the Sun, the Moon, and the 
Stars, were not mere inert matter ; but, on the contrary, beings wise, intel- 
ligent, and actuated by a divine spirit.' Posidonius tells us, that the Stoics 
supposed each Star to be the body of a deity : and Austin represents them 
as maintaining, that the Stars were parts of Jupiter or the Sun, that they 

' Ciccr. Tusc. Disp. 1. i. c. 12, 13. See also the apocryphal book of Wisdom xiv. 12. 

* Cicer. de nat. deor. lib. i. c. 42. These two citations from Cicero are adduced by Bp. 
Warburton to establish his theory respecting the Mysteries : they certainly prove, that the 
Gentiles worshipped dead men. When Cicero speaks of the Orgies teaching the nature of 
things, he reft-rs no doubt to that part of them, which set forth the doctrine of a succession 
of similar worlds, or which described (as Jamblichus speaks) the conturbation of the heavens, 
the revealing of ihc secrets of Isis, the display of the ineffable wonders of the great abyss, and 
the resting of the ship Baris. Jambl. de Rlystcr. sect. vi. c. 51. 

* Toy r{k\w, KM ffeXyriv, xai ruy aWiuv avT^uiv SKaa-Toy, sivai voe^ov xcci pf ovijuoi' x«i TTUgiViP 
TTUf . Zen. apud Stob. 

I'ag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 F 



CHAP. II. 



22S THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

BOOK IT. ^vere all living creatures, and tliat they all had rational souls.' This last wri- 
ter also mentions it to have been an established opinion, that, fronv the higli- 
est circuit of heaven to the sphere of the IMoon, there arc numerous ethereal 
souls which ought to be worshipped as celestial gods, and that these souls 
are the Stars and the Planets which may not only be comprehended by the 
intellect but even perceived by the eye.* The same notion prevailed among 
the Plienicians : for, with Cumberland, I think it abundantly evident, that 
the intelligent oviform animals, which Sanchoniatho calls Zopheseniin or 
Overlookers of the heavens, are the Stars, and not, as Bochart imagines, the 
angels.' We find it also amoi>g the ancient Babylonians : for, in the Chal- 
dean oraeles, the great father is said to have constituted a septenary of living 
erratic animals, which are the seven Worlds or seven Planets.* Even some 
of the Jewish writers did not escape the general infection, but were led to 
I adopt the theologically philosophical reveries of the Gentiles. Philo calls 

the Stars divine images : and, in what sense he calls them so, appears fi-om 
his also denominating them incorruptible and inunortal souls.' So likewise 
^laimonides declares, that the Stars and Spheres are every one of them 
animated, being endued with life, knowledge, and understanding ; and that 
they acknowledge him, at whose command the world was made, each, of 
them, according to their degree and excellency, praising and honouring him 
as the ancrels do.* 

The reason, why the heavenly bodies were thus deemed living intelligences 
was their supposed union with the souls of deceased heroes : and, as the Sun 
was the brightest of those bodies, it was naturally thought the peculiar resi- 
dence of the parent and chief of those hero-gods. This opinion was stre- 
nuously held by the Platonists of the Alexandrian school. All the superior 
gods they equally esteemed to be the Sun: and the inferior gods they ima- 

' Aff-rjov Eivai (p^cri a-uiua. Ssioy. PosiJ. apud Stob. August, de civ. Dei. lib. iv. c. 1 1. 

* August, de civ. Dei. lib. vii. c. 6. 

^ Sanchon. apud Euseb. Pra;p. Evan. lib. i, c. 10. Cumberland's Sanchon. p. 21. Bo- 
chart. Chanaan. lib. ii. c. 2. p. 706. 

* Fran. Palric. Orac. Zoroast. tit. Oujavoj. p. 44. edit. Stanley. 

* Ayx>Ma.ra biia. Phil, de opif. mund. Kf^m^Tw; xai aSavara; •^luyjx.;, Phil, de somn, 

* Jesudc Hattorah. c. iii. § 9- apud Cudw. Jntcll, Syst. p. 471. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 227 

gined to be deified heroes, whose souls dwelt in the bodies of the Stars.' In •"'*''• "• 
this doctrine they are fully supported by the whole tenor of ancient mytho- 
logy. The Egyptian priests, as we learn from Plutarch, taught expressly, 
that Cronus, Osiris, Horus, and all their other principal deities, were once 
mere men ; but that, after they died, their souls migrated into some one or 
other of the heavenly bodies, and became the genii or animating spirits of 
their new celestial mansions/ Since therefore Osiris was declared to be the 
Sun ; it is evident, that, according to this system, the soul of the man, who 
was distinguished by that appellation, was thought to have been translated 
into the Solar Orb. In a similar manner we are told by Sanchoniatho, that 
Ilus or Cronus was once a man, that he was deified by the Phervicians after 
his death, and that his soul was believed to have passed into the Planet which 
bears his name.' So again, among the Hindoos, the seven Rishis, who 
were preserved in an ark with Menu-Satyavrata, now animate the seven 
Stars of the great bear ; while the souls of their wives shine conspicuously 
in the Pleiades.* These were the gods, whom the Latins called Deastri, be- 
cause their residence was in the Stars. They were thought to have been 
once illustrious men ; but it was supposed, that their souls after death 
mounted to the Constellations as a reward of their exalted virtue. Such 
was Julius Cesar, whom the flattery indeed of the Augustan court elevated 
to a Star, yet a flattery perfectly accordant with the prevailing speculations 
of Paganism : and such doubtless were the Baalim or Siddim, so frequently 
inentioned in Holy Scripture. 

From this source plainly originated the primeval disposition of the hea- 
venly bodies into distinct Constellations, each bearing the name either of 
some hero or of some mysterious hieroglyphic. They, who had been most 
celebrated upon earth, still retained their preeminence on the sphere : and, 
to omit other more obscure Catasterisms, the warrior Nimrod still towers 
aloft in the constellation Orion ; while, in the remarkable groupe of the ship 

-• Plot. Ennead. ii. lib. 9. 

* Taj is li/u^aj Xa^irEjy affrqa.. Plut. de Isid.p. 354. 
^ Euseb. Prap. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. 

♦ Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 83, 85. Moor's Hind. Paiith. p. 85. 



Q28 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 

»ooK IV. Argo, the dove, the raven, the altar, the victim, and the sacrificing Centaur, 
we may still read the well-known history of the deluge. 

Sometimes, by a yet further refinement, the genius of the Sun was thought 
to descend from heaven, and to become incarnate in a human body. Thus 
the emperor Julian, who was deeply versed in the Mysteries of that fantastic 
theology which he preferred to the rational simplicity of the Gospel, main- 
tained, that Esculapius was manifested upon earth in a human form by the 
generative power of the Sun : from which we are to understand, I conceive, 
that the fabled god of healing was an emanation of the Sun incarnate in the 
body of a man ; for by other mythologists Esculapius is positively declared 
to be the Sun himself.' And thus the Hindoos distinctly assign a two-fold 
nature to their Menu : in one point of view, he was a mere man ; but, in 
another, he was an emanation of the Sun.* But, whether the soul of the 
man was thought to be translated to the orb of the Sun, or the genius of the 
Sun to animate the body of the man, this notion of a double nature may be 
clearly traced throughout the whole mythology of the pagans, and is in fact 
necessarily required by every page in the history of their gods one and 
many. 

2. The inquiry having been conducted thus far, it only remains to learn, 
•what particular man was venerated by the Gentiles in close union with the 
solar deity. 

As the attributes of the man have, in consequence of this union, been as- 
cribed to the Sun ; the various remarkable opinions entertained of the Sun 
will enable us to determine the man, who was worshipped in conjunction 
with him. Hence we may gather from the preceding investigation, that the 

' Cyril, cont. Julian, lib. vi. p. 200. 

* WAeiierer the deity condescends to be born of woman, the person is one, but there arc two 
natures. To this distinction ae 7nust carefnlli/ attend in order to reconcile many seeming con- 
tradictions in the Puranas; and more particitlarly so with respect to Vaivaswata and Satyav- 
rata, who are acknowledged to be but one person. The divine nature is an emanation of Vish- 
nou in hit character of the Sun ; and Satyavrata is the human nature : these two natures often 
act independently of each other, and may exist at the same lime in different places. Asiut. 
Res. vol. vi. p. 479. This distinction must equally be attended to in evi'iy other system of 
pagan mythology. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 229 

man in question must have been one, who performed an extraordinary voy- ^°*''- "• 
age in a ship with seven companions represented by the seven planets ; who 
was compelled to hide himself in a small floating island by the violence of the 
sea ; who was born from an egg or from the calix of the lotos, and who was 
thence occasionally depicted as an infant; who mysteriously triplicated himself, 
by which can only be meant that this man was the father of three sons ; who, 
sailing in his ship, presided over a gate or door, from which all human souls 
were born; who delighted to haunt a lofty mountain, where the ark of one 
preserved during an universal flood was thought to have rested ; who was 
once plunged in a remarkable manner into the ocean ; and who was the pa- 
rent, not only of a powerful family that early claimed and acquired a decided 
superiority, but even of the whole race of mankind. With respect to the 
time when these circumstances occurred, we are told very explicitly, that it 
was, when all the world was inundated by water, and when all men perished 
except this solar personage and his companions : and, as for the hieroglyphi- 
cal manner in which they are sometimes detailed, we may clearly enough 
perceive, even independent of many positive assertions to that purpose, that 
the egg, the cup, the lotos, the crocodile, and the floating island, in whicli or 
out of which the man either sails or is figuratively born, must all be the same 
thing as his ship. Such being the case, it is sufficiently obvious, that the 
man, whom the Gentiles have in all ages and countries worshipped in con- 
junction with the Sun, must be the great father Noah ; that his ship must be 
the Ark ; that tb« sidereal door, through which all living souls are born, 
must be the door of the Ark elevated to the sphere; that his favourite 
mountain must, in the first instance, be Ararat ; that his three sons must be 
Shem, Ham, and Japhet ; that his seven nautical companions must be 
the family of Noah ; tliat his birth from the lotos or e^g or floating island 
must mean tlie allegorical birth of Noah from the Ark, an idea which ne- 
cessarily involves the fable of his infancy ; that his victory over the ocean 
must denote the recovery of the earth from the wide domination of the flood ; 
that his being reputed the first sovereign of every ancient people naturally 
followed from his being the common father and patriarchal king of the whole 
human race ; and that the family, ^\hich peculiarly claimed to be his descend- 
ants tliough tliey admitted that all men equally derived their origin from him, 
must be the family of Cush, which, under the auspices of Nimrod, esta- 



230 THE onrcrN of pagan idolatry. 

soon IT. blished the only real universal empire, and wliich ever since has retained the 
sovereignty over the other children of Noah.' 

This would be the inevitable conclusion from the preceding inquiry, even 
if the old mythologists had been silent upon the point. But they are not 
silent : they more than once positively tell us, that their solar god was he, 
who, in his human capacity, was reckoned the subordinate agent in bringing 
on the deluge, and who himself was preserved in an ark from the general 
destruction. Thus, in the Zend-Avesta, the man-bull Taschter, who with 
three associates causes the whole earth to be inundated, and who exists upon 
that earth in three forms is yet spoken of as being celestially the Sim. 
Thus the Hindoo Menu-Satyavrata, who is saved in an ark with the seven 
Rishis at the time of the general deluge, is declared to be also an emana- 
tion of the solar dtity ; whence he bears the additional name of I'awa.wata. 
Thus the Egyptian Menes, who is saved from a flood on the back of the 
hieroglyphical crocodile and who is certainly the Menu of the Brahmens, must 
clearly be identified with the Sun, because the Sun is exhibited as equally 
using the crocodile for his vehicle. And thus the British Menwvdd or Menu, 
who is described as the head of three subordinate Menus, who is celebrated 
as the primeval author of the Mysteiies, who in the ship Ked sails over an 
ocean that has no shores when all mankind perish exce[)t himself and seven 
companions, and who therefore like the Egyptian Menes must necessarily be 
identified with the Indian Menu, is yet positively declared to be the Sun 
when his character is viewed astronomically.* 

Thus, so far as I can judge, no position can be more satisfactorily esta- 

' Vide infra b. vi. c. 2, 3. 

* Davies's Mythol. p. 106, 110, 121, 176. Menwydd was the same as IIu : but IIu was 
the Sun. Bp. Cumberland and Dr. Shucklord think, that Menes, whom Herodotus makes 
the first king of Egypt, was the scriptural Rlizraim. It is not improbable, when we consider 
what the leading doctrine of Paganism was, that Mizruim, like Enoch, Cush, Nimrod, and 
Abraham, may have been deemed one of the subordinate manifestations of the great father; 
but the primitive Menes, who was saved from drowning at the era of an inundation by a 
Camp.ia, a word whirh indifferently signifies a« ark and a crocodile, must clearly have been 
Noah or the Menu-Satyavrata of Ilindcstan. Cumberland's Sancbou. p, 54 — 60. Shuck- 
ford's Connect, vol. i. book iv. p. SO/. 



THE OaiGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 231 

blished than this : that, when the Gentiles worshipped the Sun as their prin- 
cipal divinity, they did not worship liiin simply and absolutely as the mere 
chief of the heavenly luminaries; but they adored in conjunction with him, 
and perpetually distinguished by his name, the patriarch Noah, whose soul 
after death they feigned to have migrated into his orb and to have become the 
intellectual regent of it. 

Yet, although they venerated Noah as the solar deity or (to adopt the 
phraseology of the Chaldfean oracles) as the one fire from which all things 
were produced, they did not venerate him exclusively as such.' Agreeably 
to the doctrine of a succession of similar worlds, each of which alike com- 
menced with an universal father and three sons who had floated on the 
surface of a preceding deluge, the person worshipped in the Sun was not 
simply Noah, but Noah viewed as a transniigratory reappearance of Adam; 
nor yvt merely Noah as a reappearance of Adam alone, but Noah consi- 
dered as one of the numerous or rather innumerable manifestations of the 
great father. In a^'solute strictness of speech then, according to tiie system 
of the [)agan hierophants, their floating solar deity is that fabled compound 
or transmigrating personage, whom they denominated the gi^eat father both 
f)f gods and iiitn, and wiiom they deemed at once the destroyer and repro- 
ducer of the world. What, in naked truth, is properly the character of 
Noah does indeed largely predominate in this personage : but, though his at- 
tributes are eminently diluvian ; we find him, in various instances, also sus- 
taining the character of Adam. He may be viewed therefore, when the fa- 
ble of an endless succession of worlds is traced up to its real origin, as a 
mixed being, who unites \\ his own person the characters of the two great 
fathers of the human race. 

VII. There is much even in the physical character of the Sun; which 
led the Gentiles, according to their tavourite mode of speculating, to adopt 
him as the best astronomical representative of their great father. 

His daily descent below the horizon and his daily rising above it visibly 
exiiibited to the devout aspirant the aphanism and reappearance of their chief 
god. By this was really meant the entrance into, and the quitting of, the 

' Eiff-<y isa.vrn tv^o; ivos enyiyoiurx. Orac, JMagie, Z«roaiit. p; 22. Opsop. 



CHAP. II. 



BOOK IV. 



232 THE ORIGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

Ark ; when the great father vanished out of one world, and manifested him- 
self again into another : but it was variously described, as a death and a revi- 
val, as a deep sleep and an expergefaction, as an entrance into the womb and 
a new birth, as a descent into the infernal regions and a return from them. 
Accordingly we are told, that, while the Sun was invisible beneath the ho- 
rizon, he shadowed out the great father, as an infernal god, or as inclosed 
in a state of temporary death within his ark which was deemed his coffin ; 
but that, while he was visible above the horizon, he represented the same 
great father as emerging from Hades and as restored to life and liberty.' 
Each day, at his rising and setting, he displayed a lively image of his hu- 
man associate, the diluvian patriarch, by seeming to float on the surface of 
the mighty ocean. Each year, by his departure into the southern tropic and 
his return with new life and vigour into the northern, he again exhibited the 
allegorical death and revival of his mortal antitype within the precise literal 
period, allowing for a few days excess, of the confinement of Noah w ithin 
the Ark ; that period, which the Hindoos celebrate as the great year of the 
solar Brahma's sleep within the egg as it floats on the surface of the in- 
termediate deluge.* And lastly, as the ruler of the seven planets with whom 
as his companions he navigates the great ship of the heavens, he aftbrded to 
his enraptured votaries the edifying astronomical spectacle of the great fa- 
ther presiding over the seven gods and with them jointly constituting that 
primeval ogdoad of deities so highly venerated in Egypt and throughout the 
pagan world : while, in his three altitudes of morning, noon, and evening, 
he displayed himself as a mysterious triplication of one and the same Sun, 
analogous to the generative triplication of the patriarch in the persons of his 
three children.' 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. p. 200. c. 21. *Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. p. 200,201. 

' The Hindoos declare, that Brahra or the Sun is the triad Brahma-Vishnou-Siva as he ap- 
pears at these three altitudes : yet, in their human capacities, these three gods are evidently 
first the three sons of Adam, and afterwards those of Noah. 



CHAPTER III. 



Respecting the division of the gentile mythologists into two great 

primeval sects. 



I. A HOUGH all the Gentiles in every quarter of the globe worshipped the 
great father as their principal divinity, and tliough all their various gods 
ultimately resolve themselves into that ancient compound and transmigrating 
personage viewed as multiplying himself by a mysterious act of triplication : 
yet we may distinctly trace the existence of two principal sects, who agreed 
indeed to venerate the same being, but who differed in the peculiar mode of 
venerating him. The difference chiefly consists in the greater or less com- 
plexity of the two systems : and, even when they are found in decided hos- 
tility to each other, they are not more unlike than those of Rome and Ge- 
neva in the Christian world. Very frequently however they have ami- 
cably blended together : all distinction has been nearly lost between them : 
and the two have immemorially enjoyed their respective votaries in common. 
Of these, we may term the one the Osiric or Bacchic or Saivic or Brah- 
menical superstition : and the other, the Buddhic or Thothic or Hermetic or 
Samanean. Throughout India' they yet exist in a separate state, and their 
adherents view each other with sentiments of the most malignant bigotry ; 

I use the word India in the large sense of the ancients. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. XI. 2G 



bnoK IV. 



234 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

yet, from the palpable similarity of the two religions in essentials, there can 
1)6 no doubt, as it has justly been observed, either that the one is the child 
of the other, or that the two have branched off from a common original. 
This has occasioned much discussion, whether of them ought to be esteemed 
the most ancient : but the mode, in which the discussion, has been 
conducted, appears to me not at all to bear upon the real merits of 
the question. It is in fact rather a dispute, which of the two v^as 
first established w India, than which of them could abstractedly and from 
its primeval origin claim the priority. I certainly think with Mr. Joinville, 
that there is considerable reason for believing that Buddhism preceded 
Brahmenism among the Hindoos : but this, so far as I can judge, leaves the 
true question wholly undecided; for the former might be more ancient in 
Hindostan than the latter, without being so in legard to its original ifistitu- 
tion. At the same time, one of his arguments, though somewhat irrelevant 
according to the limited manner in which he treats the subject, tends strongly 
to establish the propriety of the hypothesis, that Buddhism was in the first 
instance antecedent to Brahmenism. The more finished and elaborate sys- 
tem is usually posterior to that, which is less so. But Buddhism is in many 
respects crude, and simple, and unformed : while Bralnnenism is the very 
reverse. The presumption therefore is, that the latter is only a more finished 
exhibition of the former; and, consequently, that Buddhism is more ancient 
than Brahmenism.' 

II. Yet, although the priority ought perhaps to be conceded to Budd- 
hism, such priority can only be trifling. We find each system existing in 
almost every part of the world, dither separately, or conjointly with the 
other system. Hence, every argument, which proves that the one must 
have originated ^^ hen all mankind formed but one community in one region, 
will equally prove that the other cannot have had a more recent origin. The 
ri?e therefore of both must be referred to a period not later than the era of 
tlie building of the tower under the auspices of Nimrod. On the whole, 
I am inclined to believe, that the more simple Buddhic superstition was 
Ihe first political corruption of Patriarchism, the commc72cement of what 

* Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 398 et infra. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 235 

Epiphanius calls the Scythic or Cut hie heresy : while the more com- "*'• '"• 
plex Brahmenical superstition (though in all probability it has received 
many subsequent additions) was the completion and perfection of that 
heresy, denominated in this latter state by the same writer Hellenism or 
lonism.' 

III. In all ages, the warlike Chasas or Chusas or Goths or Scythians 
have peculiarly attached themselves to the Buddhic superstition. These 
are the comparatively unmixed descendants of the original sacerdotal and 
military castes, the genuine children of the Babylonic Cuthim of Nimrod.* 
On the other hand, the various tribes, who retired to the several places of 
their allotted settlement under a Cuthic priesthood and nobility of an en- 
tirely distinct race from themselves, appear to have either affected the 
Brahmenical superstition or to have carried off both systems which in time 
were reconciled and blended together into one.' The votaries of these two 
modes of worship certainly existed in India, separate from each other, so 
early as the times of Strabo, Porphyry, and Clemens Alexandrinus : for 
they all positively declare, that the Hindoo theologists were divided into two 
sects, the Brachmans or Brahmens and the Saman^ans or Sarmaneans or 
Germanes ; and, while Clemens specifically mentions the god Buddha by 
name, Strabo very accurately remarks that the Brachmans were more regu- 
lar and systematic in their scheme of doctrine than the others.* Clemens 
further observes, that the Samant;ans were peculiarly the priests of the Bac- 
trians : and such they continue even to the present day ; for the Chasas of 
Bokhara and Cashgar are still, like their ancestors, devoted to the worship 
of Buddha or Saman.' The Buddhists of that country insist, that their re- 
ligion is no modern figment, but has existed from the very beginning.* In 
saying this, I believe them to speak the truth, provided we limit the begin- 
ning of their tiieology to the era of Nimrod. It is evident, that their sys- 
tem was not of novel origin in the days of the authors to whom I have just 

' Vide infra b. vj. c. 2. § IV. 2. * Vidu infra b. vi. c. 2. § IV. 1. c. 4. $ I, II. 

' Vide infra b. vi. c. 2. § VI. c. 3. § VL 

* Strab. Geog. lib. .\v. p. 712. Porpli. dc abstin. lib. iv. § 17. Clem. Alex. Strom, lib. i. 
p. 305. 

' Clem. Sironi. lib. i. p. 305. * Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 531. 



236 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

MOK IT. referred : and, in searching for its first institution, I sec not how we can 
reasonably stop short of the great Babylonian apostasy. 

IV. By the destruction of idolatry throughout Europe and the west of 
Asia, Buddhism reigns at present over a larger portion of the globe than 
Brahmenism. The latter is confined to India : while the former not only 
shares that country with it, but prevails from the very north of Tartary to the 
island of Ceylon, and from the Indus to Siam and China and Japan. Its 
principal seat is Thibet, Boutan, and Cashgar : countries, which have ever 
formed one of the chief settlements of the Chasas or Scythians, and which 
are thence consistently deemed the cradle of Buddhism. Yet this, if I mis- 
take not, is but a local appropriation. As Paradise and mount Ararat have 
been transferred from Armenia to the high land of Cashgar and Bokhara at 
the head of the Ganges : so has the origin of Samanianism experienced an 
exactly similar removal. When a branch of the warlike Cuthim migrated 
in an unmixed state from the plains of Shinar to the lofty region of the In- 
dian Caucasus, they brought with them that Buddhic superstition which 
was so immediately founded on the history of Paradise and the deluge ; and 
to that peculiar form of old mythology their house seems to have pertina- 
ciously adhered in all its other settlements, until it relinquished it either for 
the light of Christianity or for the imposture of Mohammedism. 



CHAPTER IV. 



Respecting the human character of the great father, as exhibited in 
the Osiric or Bacchic or Saivic or Brahmenical superstition. 



J\ll the great gods of the Gentiles ultimately resolve themselves into one 
deity, known by many different names ; and that deity, we are positively 
told, is the Sun. Yet, though the Sun was their principal male divinity, his 
character was not purely Sabian or astronomical. The solar orb, to adopt 
the language of the Orphic poet, was but the heavenly body of the splendid 
god Helius.' And this god, under his various appellations, is confessed by 
the Gentiles themselves to sustain a second and mortal character. But the 
character, which he thus sustains, will be found on examination to identify 
itself, by no unequivocal tokens, with that of Noah viewed as a reappearance 
of Adam : hence he is celebrated, with perfect accuracy, as the great com- 
mon father both of hero-gods and of men. In this capacity he was equally 
venerated by two sects, into which the ancient idolaters appear to have been 
divided as early as the building of the Babylonic tower : for, whatever differ- 
ence there might be in the 7node of worshipping or describing the great father, 
the person was alike adored by the votaries of each superstition. 

I shall at present consider the human character of the great father, as ex- 

' Fragm. Orph. apud Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. 



238 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY'. 

BOOK IV. hibited, in different countries and under various appellations, by the adhe- 
rents of what may be termed the Osiric or Bacchic or Saivic or Brahmenical 
superstition. 

I. In Egypt, the transmigrating patriarch was denominated Osiris; and 
the yotmger god Horus was esteemed his offspring : but this descent is purely 
mythological : for, as Osiris and Horus are alike declared to be the Sun 
in their astronomical capacity ; so, in their human capacity, they are each 
plainly the great father. Hence we find a very strong resemblance between 
their several legends. If Horus be constrained by Typhon to take refuge in 
a floating island ; Osiris is similarly compelled by him to enter into a floating 
ark. If Horus be reputed to suffer death and afterwards to be restored to 
life; Osiris is thought to have experienced a perfectly analogous death and 
revival. If Isis wanders over the world in quest of Horus ; she makes exactly 
the same search for the lost Osiris. If she carefully collects the scattered 
limbs of Horus, and afterwards reanimates his at length united frame ; she 
performs also for the murdered Osiris the self-same good ofiices. If Horus 
be torn into seven pieces by the Titans ; Osiris is similarly torn by the Titans 
into fourteen pieces, which number is the mere reduplicate of seven. Thus, 
their enemies are the same : the calamities, which they endure, are the same : 
and their final triumph is the same. They plainly, in short, constitute but a 
single character ; and this character was divided between two deities, because 
it was viewed under two somewhat different lights ; yet one person was still 
shadowed out by each. 

Hoius A\as represented as an infant, cither sailing in a ship, or floating in 
the golden cup of the lotos, or seated on a crocodile, or swathed (as in the 
Bembine table) after the manner of the mummies : and he seems designed to 
ty[)ify the diluvian god, as born again from the Ark like a child from its mo- 
ther, as returning to life after the period of his mystical death, as entering 
upon a new slate of existence in a new world, and as finally triumpliant over 
every attack of the ocean; designed, that is to say, more peculiarly to exhi- 
bit the postdiluvian, or mystically regenerated, great fatlicr. 

Osiris, on the contrary, appears to be the same person considered more 
geiitrallij : he is Noah in every part of his character, Noah both antediluvian 
and postdiluvian. Thus, in one point of view, Noah the antediluvian, when 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATHY, 289 

considered with reference to the second great father's existence aftei' the 
flood, pixcedes him; and is then the parent and husband of the Ark, that 
mysterious mother botli of the renovated world and of the great father 
himseh": as such, he is Osiris, the consort of Isis and the sire of the in- 
fant Horus. But, in another point of view, Noah the postdiluvian, when 
considered with reference to the great father's existence be/ore the flood, 
succeeds him ; and, proceeding from the womb of the Ark which is the great 
father's consort, displays himself in the character of their son : as such, he 
is Horus or the younger Osiris, the oft'spring of Isis and the elder Osiris. 

Some refinement of this nature, which indeed was the almost inevitable 
consequence of the various degrees of relationship sustained by the great 
father towards the great mother, may be traced with sufficient clearness in 
the avowed notions of the Egyptians themselves. Plutarch tells us, that they 
esteemed Osiris as the beginning, Isis as the receptacle, and Horus as the 
completion :' and he speaks of Isis, as being the mundane house or habita- 
tion of Horus, the seat of generation, the nurse of the world, the universal 
recipient.' Simplicius ascribes the same character to the Syrian fish-goddess 
Derceto or Atargatis : for he represents her, as being the place or habitation 
of the gods ; and he adds, that, like the Egyptian Isis w ith whom she ought 
doubtless to be identified, she contained, inclosed within her womb, what he 
calls the specialities or proper natures of many deities. ' Such phraseology, 
when the history of Osiris and Horus is considered, must relate to the Ark ; 
though, as the great father was Adam no less than Noah, without excluding 
the Earth or the greater World vvhich was ever associated in the minds of the 
ancient hierophants with the Ark or the smaller World. 

Osiris then is Noah anterior to the deluge; yet, as his history shews, 
without excluding any other pait of that patriarch's character : while Horus, 
the mythological son of Osiris and Isis, represents to us the same person, 
born as an infant from the womb of the Ark, and finally prevailing over the 
ravages of the ocean. 

1. Agreeably to such an arrangement, Horus, as we have seen, is described 
as taking refuge in a floating island from the fury of Typhon or the sea, 

' rUit. dc hid. p. 37-t. * Pint, do hid. p. 072, 374. 

^ Simpl. in Aristot. dc auscul. phys. lib. iv. p. 150. 



240 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOK IV. and as afterwards expelling his enemy and as assuming that sovereignty which 
the overwhelming monster had for a season usurped. He is also said to 
have been slain by the Titans, and to have been left by them for dead in the 
water ; where, his mother Isis, at length finding him, by her divine power 
restored him to life and immortality.' 

These legends both relate to the same event : they are merely told in a 
somewhat different manner. The floating island shadowed out the Ark : 
whence Typhon, by whom Horus is driven into it, is rightly declared to be 
the personified ocean. In a similar manner, the Titans were the whole race 
of antediluvians : and they are generally represented, as being in arms against 
the navicular hero-gods, but as being finally subdued by them and as being 
then plunged into the watery depths of the great central abyss. Yet there is 
an evident distinction made between the impious Titans and certain others of 
a very different character who yet bore the same appellation : for Horus or 
Apollo, Cronus or Saturn, Hercules, Prometheus, and Helius, as being 
fundamentally one person, were all equally called Titan ; and we find a par- 
ticular family of Titans, which, with their parent Cronus at their head, 
amounted precisely to eight persons.* These are doubtless the eight great 
gods of Egypt : and the distinction is made, because the xvhole race of ante- 
diluvians comprehended the Noetic family as well as their irreclaimable con- 
temporaries. The supposed death of Horus then by the hands of the Titans 
is closely allied to Typhon's inveterate pursuit of him. The Ark was esteem- 
ed a coffin ; and the inclosure of Noah within it, his death: hence arose the 
various fables of the death and burial of the principal ship-god. Thus dead, 
Isis finds Horus in the midst of the waters ; and forthwith bestows upon him 
that new life, which Noah received when he quitted his floating coffin the 
Ark. 

2. The fabled persecution, which Osiris experiences from Typhon, is evi- 
dently the same, as the exactly parallel persecution, from which Horus is 

• Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. "22. 

* Orph. Hymn. xi. 1. xii. 2, 7- xxxiii. 3. Soph. (Edip. Colon, ver. 57. Stat. Thebaid. 
lib. i. ver. 738. Sanch. apud Euseb. Proep. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. As Cronus is certainly the 
same as Sydyk or the just man Noah, his seven children the Titans are the same as the seven 
Cabiri. They are the same also as the seven Heliad» and the seven Rishis of Hindostan; the 
same, it may be added, as various other parallel septenaries. 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAV IDOLATUr. 241 

compelled to take refuge in the floating island Chemmis. Substitute only the 
ark of Osiris for the island of Horus ; and the two stories are palpably iden- 
tified. The very curious legend of Osiris has been detailed at large by Plu- 
tarch. Its substance is, as follows. 

Typhon, we are told, conspired against this hero-god of the Egyptians 
with an intention to slay him and to usurp the whole of his dominions. For 
this purpose he contrived an ark of extraordinary workmanship, and per- 
suaded him to enter into it. The credulous deity having assented, Typhon 
shut him up, and cast him into the Nile which was mystically denominated 
the ocean. Thus inclosed in what was deemed his cofBn, the winds and 
waves conveyed him as one dead to Phenicia. Isis however rambled over all 
the world in search of him : and, having at length found the lost object of 
her tenderness, she succeeded in liberating him from his confinement and in 
restoring him to life. ' Here we perceive an ancient personage driven into 
an ark by the violence of the sea, which for a time occupies the whole of his 
dominions : and we learn, that, as his entrance into it was viewed in the 
light of death, so his liberation from it was considered as a revival or as a 
return from Hades. 

The ark of Osiris, in which he was set afloat by his adversary Typhon^ 
was thought by the Egyptians to have been constructed in the form of a lunette 
or a boat with two similar extremities.* Its shape was in short that of the 
modern life-boat, which resembles the lunar crescent floating on the water : 
and it was adopted, because the Moon in her first or last quarter was made 
the astronomical symbol of the Aik. Osiris accordingly was sometimes said 
to have entered into this luniform ark, and at other times was fabled to have 
entered into the Moon : and the Egyptians regularly commemorated by yearly 
festivals each of these mysterious entrances.' But they botli alluded to the 
same event, the entrance of Noah into the Ark : for the Moon, into which 
Osiris was thought to have entered, was no other than the wooden lunette, 
the ark (as Plutarch fairly speaks out) sha[)ed like the Moon, within which 
Typhon inclosed him and then set him afloat on the water. 

• Plut. de Isid. p. 356. 

* Aaj yaxa /xr^voeiii). Plut. de Isid. p. 368. See Plate III. Fig. 1. 
' Plut. de Isid. p. 366, 368. 

Tag. Idol. VOL. ir. 2 H 



CHAF. IV. 



242 THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATHr. 

BOOK IV. The day, on whicli the Egyptian priesthood supposed Osiris to have been 
shut up in the ark, was the seventeenth day of the month Athyr when the 
Sun is in Scorpio ; at which time the overflowing of the Nile had ceased, and 
the country had become dry. ' Now, if v\ e suppose INIoses to have reckoned 
bytlie civil year of the Jews wliich commenced from the autumnal equinox", 
this will be the precise day of the precise month on which Noah entered into 
the Ark.* Or, if he reckoned by their ecclesiastical year which commenced 
from the vernal equinox (a point, incapable perliaps of being now decided 
with absolute certainty), we shall still have the memoi"}' of the precise day, 
though in that case not of the precise mojith, accurately preserved in the le- 
gend of Osiris.* Itis not improbable, that the Egyptians tlicmselves laboured 
under some degree of doubt respecting the true mode of computation : for 
they seem to have taken pains to provide against all liability to error by the 
appointment of two annual festivals at the opposite seasons of the year, 
spring and autumn; on one of which they commemorated the entrance of 

* Osiris into the Moon, and on the other his entrance into the ark. But these 

two festivals, as I have just observed, related to the same event : for the 
I\Ioon of Osiris was the IVIoon only in a mystical sense ; literally and pro- 
perly, it was not the planet, but a luniform boat, in which he was feigned to 
have floated down the Nile and to have crossed the sea to Phenicia. By this 
expedient therefore of a double festival, they were sure to celebrate what 
they called the inclosure of Osiris uithin his coffin on the very day of the 
ery month of Noah's inclosure within the Ark. 

» Plut. de hid. p. 356. 

* In the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the tame day iff re all thefountaim. 
of the great deep bruhen up, and the 'Jiindoxis of heaven were opened — Jn the selfsame day 
entered Noah into (he ark. Gen. vii. 11, 13. 

' Abp. Usher supposes Moses to have reckoned by the civil year, which would make the 
tradition of the Egyptian priesthood accurate even to a day. Usser. Annal. -in A. P. J. 2365, 
I think it however more probable, that he reckoned by the ecclesiastical year: because, in 
that case, Noah would land from the Ark in the spring with the whole summer before him; 
■while, in the other case, he would land in the autumn with the dismal prospect of an 
approaching winter. Now it is not likely, that the good Providence of God would needlessly 
expose him and his family to so serious an inconvenience. It may be added, that the olive 
twig, plucked off by the dove, seems to have been a. young and tender vernal shoot, not » 
tough branch of a whole year's growth. 



THE ORIOIK OF PAOAM IDOLATRY. 843 

That vessel being esteemed the coffin of Osiris, while he remained confined '^'**''' "• 
within it, he was reputed to be dead, and was bewailed accordingly : but, 
when he quitted it, he was thought to return to life, and the festival then as- 
sumed the appearance of the most extravagant mirth and exultation. So 
likewise, during his inclosure in the ark, he was considered as lost; but, 
Mhen he left it, he was reckoned to be found again. In the commemorative 
festival, this latter event was celebrated on the nineteenth day of the month, 
or on the third day after his inclosure. The Egyptians then went down to the 
sea by night, the priests bearing the sacred vehicle. This contained a golden 
vessel in tlie form of a boat, doubtless that kind of boat which the Greeks 
called (wiphiprymndis, a boat with similar extremities resembling the lunar 
crescent. Into the boat they poured some of the river water ; and then, 
supposing Osiris to be found, they raised a shout of joy.' 

The day of the egress of Osiris does not correspond with that of the egress 
of Noah: but I think it not difficult to ascertain the reason, why the third 
day after the inclosure was peculiarly selected. In the sacred Orgies the 
whole history of the deluge was designed to be represented : but Noah re- 
mained in the Ark a year and ten days : it was necessary therefore in the 
commemorative festival to comp7xss this period of time.' The principle then, 
upon which they went, I take to have been the following. As Noah was 
shut up in the Ark a whole year with ten additional days, if we divide the 
entire period into three parts and consider the unbroken year as the middle 
part: in that case, he will have entered into the Ark at the close of one year; 
he will have been confined in it during the whole of another year ; and he 
will have quitted it at the beginning of the third year. Now the ancients, as 
it is well known, were wont mystically to call years days ; a practice, which 
we may still behold in many of the prophecies of Holy Scripture. Under 
such circumstances, tliey could not more aptly represent the diluvian history 
in a compressed form, than by making Osiris enter into the ark on the seven- 
teenth day of Athyr and quit it on the third day following : for, in fact, had 
the preservation of Noah been related in prophetic phraseology, he would 
have been said to disappear on one day and to reappear on the subsequent 

' Pliit.de hid. p. 366. • Gen. vli. 11, 13. viii. 14.. 



844 THK ORIGIK OF PAGAN IDOLATttV. 

nooK IT. third day. In this respect, unless I much mistake, he, no less than Jonalj, 
is a most cmuicnt type of the death, burial, and resurrection, of our blessed 
Saviour. As Noah, according to the Jewish mode of computation, was shut 
up in the Ark three years or three pro{)hetic days; and as Jonah remained 
tliree days in the belly of the cctu§, that constant symbol of the Ark : sa 
did our Lord continue three days in the womb of the Earth, which the an- 
cients considered as a vast ship, and which was thence constantly represented 
by the same hieroglyphics as the Ship of Noali. That is to say, each reap- 
peared on the third day after his disappearance : Christ and Jonah, on the 
natural third day ; Noah, on the prophetic or mystical third day. 

Since then, on the very day of the month in which Noah enters into the 
Ark to avoid the fury of the deluge, Osiris is also compelled to enter into an 
ark by Typhon, who in the mythology of Egypt (as Plutarch assures us) is 
the same as the ocean ; Osiris must, by the strong evidence of circumstance, 
be deemed one character with Noah. Such being the case, the luniform 
ark of Osiris, which was sometimes mystically denominated the Jllooti, must 
be the same as Noah's Ark : and the peculiar shape of a crescent must have 
been adopted, and the name of the Moon applied to the machine so con- 
structed; because, in the union of Sabianism and Diluvianism, the boat-like 
figure of the horned Moon was thought the best astronomical representative 
of the Ship of the deluge. 

Now the luniform ark of Osiris, in which he floated on the surface of the 
waters, was certainly the sacred ship of Osiris ; that ship, in which the 
Egyptians placed the Sun, and in which they depicted their eight great gods 
sailing together over the ocean. But the ship of Osiris, as we are plainly 
taught by Plutarch, was that very ship, which the Greeks called Argo, and 
Mhich they feigned to be the vehicle of Jason and his adventurous companions 
to Colchis : for he tells us, that the Argo was placed among the coastellations 
in honour of tlie ship of Osiris. ' Hence it will follow, that the Argo must be 
the Ark, and that the whole fable of the Argonautic expedition must be a 
mere romance founded on the mystic voyage of Osiris, that is to say, on the 

de Isid. p, 359, 



THE OKiaiN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 245 

real voyage of Noali. It will also follow, that Danaus who was reputed to ^haf. xv. 
have sailed from Egypt to Argolis in the ship Argo, and that Jason who was 
thought to have sailed in it to Colchis, must each be mere variations of the 
character of Osiris or Noah.' And for such an opinion there is sufficient 
evidence, distinct from that which arises from both of them being, like Osiris, 
the reputed navigators of the Argo. Some mythologists rightly esteemed 
Danaus the son of Thcba; which M'ord, as it is well known, literally signifies 
an ark : and from others we learn, that Jason, when a child, was inclosed 
in an ark, like one dead, in order that he might escape the fury of Pelias.* 
Now, since Jason and Osiris are equally said to be the captains of the Argo, 
since each was inclosed in an ark, since each was persecuted by a relentless 
enemy, since each was bewailed by females as one dead, and since each 
upon quitting the ark was thought to be restored to life: we must inevitably 
conclude, that tliese two famous Argonauts are fundamentally the very same 
character, that the Argo is in both cases the Ark, and that the Egyptian deity 
and his transcript the Greek hero are equally the god of the Ark. The ac- 
counts indeed, which we have of the Argo, shew plainly enough what primeval 
ship it was designed to shadow out. Various persons were reputed to be 
the builders of it : but, whether its architect was Danaus, or Jason, or 
Argus, or Hercules, or Melicertes, or Minerva, or Typhon ; whether it 
was framed in Egypt, or at Argos, or at Pagasae, or in Phenicia, or on 
mount Ossa ; still a constant notion prevailed, that it was ihe /irst ship which 
was ever constructed, the Jirst ship that divided the waves of the hitherto 
impassable sea, that remarkable ship with which the science of navigation 
cojnmaiced, the ship in short which on that very account was thouglit worthy 
of being placed among the constellations.' Nor was it only the Jifst ship: 

' Schol. in Apollon. Argon, lib. i. vcr. 4. 

* Tzc'tzcs nuntions a writer, who makes Egypttis, the brother of Danau.s, to be the son of 
Thcba: consequently, Danaus was likewise her son. Ihis Tbeba was the mythological wife 
01 Ogyges, and was thought to have given her name to the Kgyptiau Thebes. But Ogyge$ 
flourished at the time of (he flood; and Thcba is the very name, by which Moses designates 
the Ark of Noah, Tzelz. Schol. in Lycoph. vcr. li206V 175. Tzetz. Chil. vii. hist. 96. 
Find. Pyth. iv. ver. 197. 

' Compare Schol. in Apollon. Argon, lib. i. ver. 4. Ovid. Metam. lib. viii. ver. 302. 
Tzetz. in Lycoph. vcr. 883. Ptol. Hephaest. Nov, Hist. lib. li. p. 310. Atheu. Deipnos. lib. 



246 TUE ORICIN OF PAOAN IDOLATRY". 

•>0K IT. ij yyag also the ship, in which Danaus the son of Th^jba, who was thought 
to liave flourished synchionically with the dehige of Ogygcs, fled from the 
rage of Egyptus his brother; the ship, into which Osiris was equally driven 
by the fury of his brother Typhon or the sea; the ship, from which Jason, 
who was similarly persecuted by Pelias, was believed to have sent out a dove. ' 
When to these highly characteristic circumstances is added the manifest 
identity of the Argo of the Egyptian Osiris and the Argha of the Indian 
Eswara, and when we recollect that the Argha was supposed to have floated 
on the surface of tlie deluge and afterwards to have been metamor|)hosed into 
a dove; it is almost impossible not to recognize in the Argo the Ship of Noah, 
and in Osiris the patriarch himself.* 

But it is not merely the diluvian history of Osiris, which points him out 
to be Noah : his character likewise corresponds minutely with that of the 
second great father of mankind, and at the same time no less minutely with 
that of the first great father. Hence we may pronounce him to be not merely 
Noah, but Noah viewed as a transmigratory reappearance of Adam. 

We learn from Plutarch, that he was a husbandman, a legislator, and a 
zealous advocate for the worship of the gods ; that he was the first, who with- 
drew the Egyptians from the wildness of a savage life, who taught them how 
to use the fruits of the earth, and who enacted laws for the preservation of 
social order.' Diodorus Siculus gives much tlic same account of him. He 
tells us, that he did not confine himself merely to Egypt ; but that he travelled 
over the whole world, was the universal civilizer of manners, and every 
where appeared in the light of a general benefactor. He was in India, 
Arabia, Ethiopia, Asia, Thrace, Greece, and Italy. Like the Hindoo god 
Deo-Naush, with whom he is clearly to be identified, he not only passed 
over all those regions^ but penetrated to the very source of the Istcr or Da- 

vii. p. 296. Orph. Argon, ver. 66 — 69. Plut. do Tsiil. p. 356. Schol. in Apoll. Argon, lib. i. 
Tcr. 238. Eratos. Catast. A^yta. Lucan. Fliars. lib. iii. ver. 193. Manil. Astron. lib. i. vcr. 
403. ApoUon. Argon, lib. i. vcr. 551. Schol. in Aral. Phaen. p. 46. 

' Apoll. Bibl. lib. ii. c. 1. § 4. ApoUon. Argon, lib. ii. ver. ioj. 

* Tlif- reader will find the Argonautic expedition treated of at great length in my Dissert, on 
the Cabiri. c. \iii. 

» Plut. de Isid. p. 356. 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATftr. 247 

nube. He was particularly a skilful cultivator of the vine : and, wherever 
tlic climate did not suit the growth of that tree, he taught men the method of 
makinc^ a vinous liquor from barley. Though an Egyptian divinity, he was 
not always reputed to be a native of Egypt. The Indians asserted, that he 
was born at Nusa in their country : and modern researches into the mytholoa;y 
of Hindostan sufficiently demonstrate the accuracy of this statement of 
Diodorus, by shewing that Deo-Naush, whence the Greeks borrowed their 
Dionusus, is the same person as Osiris. The Arabians, on the other hand, 
supposed him to be a native of Nusa in their country, and there to have first 
planted the vine. He was reckoned to be the original founder of the Esj^fptian 
Thebes, so famous for its hundred gates ; and he bestowed upon it the name 
of his mother. Diodorus adds indeed, that it was called Tliehes only in after 
ages : but this I apprehend to be a mistake. The allegorical parent of Osiris 
was Theba or Arijo ; who \\ as likewise said to be the mother of the Araonaut 
Danaus or Deo-Naush and the wife of the diluvian Ogyges, and who was 
the prototype of Isis or Rhea or the great universal mother. It was from 
this Theba, that both the Greek and the Egyptian cities derived their name 
of Tliebce. Diodorus further assures us, that he was certainly the same as 
the Greek Dionusus or Bacchus, that mythologists supposed him to have 
been in every quarter of the habitable globe, and that both Greeks and In- 
dians equally believed him to be the original inventor of wine and the first 
instructor of mankind in the art of cultivating vineyards. ' 

This universality of character is in itself sufficient to overturn tlie opinion 
of those, who have imagined Osiris to be Moses or Joseph. ' He, who was 
alike claimed by every nation, who was thought to have visited all parts of 
the earth, who was celebrated throughout the whole world as the Jirst agri- 
culturist, the_/r>5Hnventorof wine, thejfr^Megislator, the^Vi^ navigator of 
a ship, the Jirst great civilizer of niankind, can only be a person in ^vhom the 
whole habitable globe was equally interested. But such a character is solely 
applicable to him, whom the Ci entiles venerated as the great transmicriatincr 
universal father or Adam reappearing in the person of Noah. Him tach 

• Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 13- 18. lib. It. p, 210. 

* 1 allude to Gale, Huet, and Sandford, men of great learning, but certainly much mis- 
taken in their views of the character of Osiris. 



BOOK IV 



248 TilE ORIGIN' OF PAGAK IDOLATIir. 

nation, in the usual spirit of local appropriation, claimed peculiarly to itself, 
as its earliest king, its earliest instructor in the arts of civil life, its earliest 
lawgiver and benefactor. He, in short, was that primitive husbandman, 
tliat primitive cultivator of the vine; who was known in every quarter of the 
world as the mystic son of Nusa or Theba, who was at once the child of the 
Earth and of the Sliip jointly venerated under common symbols, who was 
thought to have lived two successive lives, and who was believed to have 
been driven into an ark on the seventeenth day of the second month by the 
furj of the overwhelming ocean. 

3. I have already had occasion to notice the mystic theocrasy of the old 
niythologists, by which all their principal deities were ultimately resolved 
into one person. In no part of heathen lore does this theocrasy appear in a 
more singular light, than in the legend of Osiris and Typhon. Their cha- 
racters are clearly enough discriminated from each other: and, as Osiris is 
evidently the transmigrating Noah, so Typhon is plainly and indeed avowedlv 
the ocean or the deluge. Yet, though described as open and irreconcileable 
enemies, they are nevertheless (such was the flexible nature of ancient de- 
monolatry) sometimes strangely intermingled with each other. Osiris, not- 
withstanding in his astronomical capacity he is said to be the Sun, and not- 
withstanding in his human capacity he is palpably the great father, is yet 
declared to be the same as both the ocean and the river Nile. ' Here the 
marine god of the deluge is confounded with the deluge itself: and Osiris is 
identified with that very ocean and with that very river itself mystically 
denominated the ocean,* over the waters of which he floated in his ark; 
with that very ocean in short, of which his arch adversary Typhon was 
deemed a personification. 

Osiris thus invading the character of Typhon, Typhon similarly encroaches 
on the character of Osiris. He is positively declared to be the ocean or the 

' OiTjfiv i^x£«vov. Plut. de Isid. p. 364. Tovroy CSecamvJ — sivai — rov NiiXov. Suid. 
Lex. Serapis was the same as Osiris. This deity being esteemed one with the Nile, we find 
that the Nile bore the name of Sim, by Isaiah expressed Sihor; which, as Selden justly re- 
marks, is the same word as Osiris or Isiris, Isaiah X.xiii. 3. Sold, de diis Syr. synt. i. c. 4. 
p. 73—76. 

• Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 12, 17. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 249 

deluge ; he is represented as a being most violent and unruly in his nature ; and '^"ap- 
he is said to have thrown the Universe into confusion, and to have filled both 
sea and land with evils unutterable. ' When to these particulars are added 
the circumstances of his having forced Osiris into an ark and of his having 
constrained Horusto take refuge in a floating island, we can scarcely doubt of 
his being a personification of the flood. Yet this very demon was sometimes 
viewed in the light of the great father or the principal helio-arkite divinity. 
Plutarch tells us, that the Egyptians esteemed Typhon the same as the Sun. 
He rejects indeed the opinion as palpably absurd, on account of the manifest 
confusion which it involves : but he does not dissemble the cvistence of such 
an opinion/ Typhon then is strangely blended with Osiris in his astronomi- 
cal capacity : and, what might thence be naturally expected, he is equally 
blended with him in his human capacity. Thus we have a legend, that, 
when Typhon was born, he broke violently through the side of his mo- 
ther.' Now his mother was Rhea, who was likewise the mother of Osiris.* 
The birth therefore of Typhon is the same as the birth of Osiris. But 
Rhea is the lunar ship of the deluge, which was esteemed the receptacle of 
the hero-gods and the great mother from which they were all born. Conse- 
quently, the birth of Typhon, like that of Osiris, relates to the allegorical 
birth of Noah from the door in the Ark's side, so famous in the Mysteries of 
the ancients. This however is not the sole matter, to which it alludes. 
Rhea was the Earth, no less than the Ark : and, as Typhon, when viewed 
as the god of the deluge, is born from the side of the Ark; so, when viewed 
as the deluge itself, he bursts violently from the M'omb of the Earth or the 
great central abyss. Hence he is sometimes literally declared to have been 
the son of the Earth. ' Rhea was deemed the mother of Isis, as well as of 
Osiris and Typhon : but, as all the old mythological \\Titers agree, they were 
fundamentally the same character; for they were each the house or receptacle 
of the hero-gods. Accordingly this general mother, considered in a different 

' Plut. de Isid. p. 3()3, 3/1, 36l. 

* Tuiv JgTu^cova 'ffoiovyrujv rov 'HXiov ouJs axousiv ajiox. Plut. de Isid. p. 372. 
^ Plat.de Isid. p. 355. 

♦ Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 13. 

' Anton. Liber. Metam. c. xxviii. ApoU. Bibl. lib. i. c. 6. § 3. 

Fag. Idol. VOL. II. ' 2 I 



-50 THE OllIGIV or PAGAX IDOLATRY. 

point of view, became the consort of the chief arkite deity. Thus Isis was 
generally thought to be the wiie of Osiris, though as Rhea she was his pa- 
rent : and yet, in consequence of the mystic thcocrasy by which Osiris and 
Ty[)hon were blended together, a notion also prevailed, that she was the 
consort of Typhon and only the adulterous paramour of Osiris. ' 

4. The same curious theocrasy blended Typhon with others of the iiclio- 
diluvian gods; all of whom, as we have seen above, are mutually declared to 
be one character both with each other and with Osiris. 

Accordingly we are told, that Typhon was the same as Priapus, who was 
himself the same as Protogonus and Phanes and the Sun ; who were again the 
same as Dionusus or Bacchus ; who was lastly the same as Osiris.' Now 
Priapus was no other than Baal-Peor the phallic god of the Moabites, both 
as we learn from Jerome and as the very name itself seems to import ; for 
Priapus is probably a mere corruption of Peor-Jpis. ' Baal-Peor then, or 
the lord of opening, under which title Noah was adored, as the god presiding 
over generation or the opening of tiie great arkite mother : this Baal-Peor 
was the same as Typhon ; which again unites him witli Osiris. His rites 
were most detestable : but the origin of that vile worship, which called down 
the divine vengeance on the apostate Israelites, is indifferently ascribed to 
Typhon, Osiris, and Dionusus ; whence their characters plainly amalgamate 
with each other.* 

The Mysteries of Typhon or Baal-Peor, like all the phallic Orgies of anti- 
quity, originated from the idea, that the transmigrating Noah and the mun- 
dane Ark were the two great parents of the Universe. Philo Judtus, accordr 
ingly, in a very curious passage, immediately refers the Mysteries of Baal- 
Peor to the deluge. He tells us, that in the celebration of them all his vota- 
ries opened their mouths to receive the water that was poured into them from 
without ; and that by this figurative action they represented the plunging of 

' Jul. Firm. <le error, prof. rcl. p. 4. 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. iv. p. 214. lib. i. p. 13, 15,22. Orph. Hynin. v. 1, 8, p. xxi-v. 1, C. 

^ Hicron. Comment, in Hos. c. ix. 1 think Bp. Horsley somewhat too hasty in calling this 
a random guess of St. Jerome. When we find the principal gods of the Gentiles uniformly 
declared to be one character, and when we find both their worship and history to be fundamen- 
tally the very same ; their identity is surely something more than a random guess, 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. iv. p. 214. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 251 

Nous the governor beneath tiie waters of the flood and the impelling of him *^"*^*'- '^• 
to the lowest abyss of Chaos.' That Philo here refers the Mysteries of 
Baal-Peor to the deluge, is, I think, sufficiently plain : but I do not saj-^, 
that he did it consciously. He himself probably might not fully understand 
the term which he was using; but might imagine, that Nous meant nothing 
more than JMind or Intelligence, and that the whole related to some mystical 
act of mental abstraction and meditation. Nous does indeed denote Mind ; 
but, like the Sanscrit word Menu, it only acquired that signification, because 
the man Nous or Nus or Nuh or Noah was, in the material system, deemed 
the Mind or Intellectual Soul of the World. The Nous in question however 
was to be plunged into a deluge of water, which demonstrates his real cha- 
racter: and he is evidently the same as 'the Orphic or Platonic Nous, the 
parent of the royal triad of younger Noes ; whose history the Greeks have 
well nigh ruined, by too much refining on the sense, which the word acquired 
in their language in consequence of the great father being esteemed the Soul 
or animating principle of the Universe. The rites of the Typhonian Baal- 
Peor were the same as those of Osiris in yet another respect : they were not 
only highly impure, but they were also of a funereal nature ; whence the 
Psalmist rightly connects them with what he calls sacrifices of the dead.'' 
The expression is exactly similar to that, which the Orphic poet employs in 
speaking of the doleful infernal rites of Osiris. ' The Mysteries of Baal- 
Peor, Adonis, and the Egyptian divinity, were all the same : the dead in 
each instance, if used plurally as it is by the Psalmist, mean the Noetic 
family ; who were regarded as dead while inclosed within their coffin the 
Ark, and who were thought to return to life when they quitted it. 

As for Priapus, who (as we have seen) was identified with Typhon, how- 
ever he may by later mythologists have been degraded into a mere scarecrow, 
he was a god of high dignity and antiquity. He is celebrated by the Orphic 

• OJroi Si reKsrai; rou; xvis^otf 'rat; 'Bukfryuii reXsj-iivTe;, xai ra rou (rwfj.xros <rTOy.scTX 

ftyiug ayujre^tu rroua, SsfjuaTOj), xartxXu(r«vT8y ijy£/x9»a tJivv, xou STriiea-av ei; /3u5ov «(ryaroy. 
Phil. Juil. apud Seld. de diis Syr. syut. i. c. 5. p. 85. I have for obvious reasons given only 
the partial sense of this passage. 

* Psalm cvi. 58. 

' ©fijvoL/f r Aiyvimu/y, x«t OwfiJoj i«fa p^wrAa. Orph. .\rgon. ver. 33. 



252 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATKY. 

booK IV. poet, as being no other than Phanes, or Dionusus, or the first-born male 
who was produced out of the tern pest- tossed egg or ovicular arkite machine.' 
Phurnutus justly supposes him to be the same as Pan; and observes, that 
they were both accounted primeval demon-gods.* But Pan was thought by 
the JMendesians to be one of the eight great deities, and indeed the oldest 
or head of them all : and he was reckoned the same as Osiris, or Serapis, 
or Dionusus, or Pluto, or Zeus, or Ammon.' Thus are we again brought 
back to the point whence we set out, the mystic theocrasical identity of 
Osiris and Typhon. 

5. Their characters being blended together, we shall not be surprized to 
find, that they bore the same appellation also ; and that appellation may 
likewise be plainly traced in the worship of Baal-Peor. 

The Egyptians, we are told, designated Typhon by the name of Seth, 
and Osiris by that of Soth or Sothi.* These are radically but one word, con- 
taining the same fundamental though mutable consonants, and differing from 
each other only in the unessential vowel. Now there is reason to believe, 
that Selk or Soth was also a title of Baal-Peor. The place, where the Is- 
raelites were encamped when the Moabitish women seduced them into the 
nefarious Orgies of that obscene deity, was called Sittim, or (as Jerome 
writes the wovd) Settim. He places it hard by mount Peor; which was 
one of those high places or local Ararats of the Prothyrean Baal, to which 
Balak conducted Balaam for the purpose of cursing Israel.' Sittim is the 
plural of Seth, as Baalim is the plural of Baal : and these Sittim or Baalim 
were the arkite gods, of whom Noah, under the singular name Seth, Sit, 
Sid, or Soth, was the principal. To them the region of Sittim, where the 
rites of Baal-Peor prevailed, seems to have been dedicated : and Balaam 
himself calls the RIoabites, in the generally received phraseology of Pagan- 
ism, the children of Seth.^ By this Seth he meant Typhon or Baal-Peor, to 

' Orph. Hymn. V. * Phurn. de nat. deor. c. xxvii. 

» Herod. Hist. lib. ii. c. 46, 145. Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 22. 

* Tov Tvfwva Irfi au oi AiyuTrrio; xaXoua-i. Plut. de Isid. p. 367- O! /xsv Ocrictv, o'l ie te- 
fairiv, «i Je ScuSi AiyuTTritrTi. Ibid. p. 375. Epiphanius says tlic same; and adds, that the 
sacred ass of Typhon was likewise called Seth. Epiph. adv. ha;r. lib. iii. p. 1093. 

' Numb. XXV. 1. xxii. 41. x.xiii. 28. * Numb. xxiv. 17. 



THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 25:5- 

whose lascivious Orgies they were so notoriously addicted : and the children <^"'^''- '"• 
of' Seth were the votaries of that deity, who truly claimed their descent 
from him as the great universal father both of gods and men. The place of 
Israel's seduction was sometimes denominated compoundedly Abel-Sittim.^ 
It doubtless received the name from the mournful Orgies of Baal-Peor, which 
were there celebrated. Abel-Sittim denotes the mourning of the Sittim: 
and this mourning was the same, as that of the Syrian women who bewailed 
the mystic death of Adonis or Thammuz, and as that of the Egyptians who 
similarly lamented the death of Osiris. It was here accordingly, that the 
Israelites, while they joined themselves to Baal-Peor, partook of those sa- 
crifices of the dead, which are mentioned by the Psalmist as forming an 
eminent part of his worship. 

6. But the genuine and most usual character of Typhon is that of a tre- 
mendous monster, who waged war against Osiris and the hero-gods, and 
M'ho involved the whole world in anarchy and confusion. 

What we are literally to understand by this mythological demon is unre- 
servedly told us by Plutarch. He assures us, as we have already seen, that 
Typhon is the ocean: and there is abundance of circumstantial evidence to 
prove, that by this ocean was meant the deluge. Typhon was thought to be 
the son of the Earth, because the waters of the flood issued from the great 
central abyss : and, in a hymn ascribed to Homer, he is said to have been 
produced from the vapours which Juno caused to exhale from tlie earth. 
His bulk was terrific : his heads were many in number : he had wings on 
his shoulders : and his thighs terminated in the volumes of two enormous 
serpents. He not only inclosed Osiris within an ark, drove Horus into the 
floating island Chemmis, and (under the name of Python) constrained La- 
tona to take refuge in the floatmg island Delos where she became the parent 
of Ajwllo and Diana : but he likewise compelled all the arkite divinities to 
flee into Egypt, where they assumed the forms of the various sacred animals 
of that countiy. At length, Jupiter overwhelmed hini; according to some, 
with mount Etna ; submerged him, according to others, in the country of 
the Arimi ; confined him, according to others again, in a cavern of Cilicia ; 

' Numb, xxxiii. 49. 



2.54 THE ORIGIN OK PAOAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOK IV, 0,. plunged him thunderstruck, according to others, beneath the lake Ser- 
bonis.' 

All this wild superstructure of romantic incident, which mytholoijists have 
erected on the allegorical character of Typhon, will require little explana- 
tion, if we steadily keep in mind that that poetical monster is avozvcd/y the 
diluvian ocean. For a time he prevails, and constrains the hero-gods to save 
themselves by a precipitate flight : but he is finally subdued himself, and 
plunged beneath that eirth from the womb of which he originally issued. 
Accordingly, the scene of his overthrow is usually connected with some di- 
luvian legend, in whatever different countries it might be laid by different 
nations : for this was the mere vanity of local appropriation, similar to that 
by which they severally localized the history of the deluge and the a[)pulse 
of the Ark. Thus, he is over« helmed with Etna: but some imagined, that 
the ark of Deucalion rested upon that moimtain lie is slain, under the 
name of Python, in the skirts of Parnassus : but the Greek mythologists 
tell us, that this was the mountain on which Deucalion's ark rested. He 
is submerged in the land of the Arimi, vUiom Strabo pronounces to be the 
Syrians : but the ark of Deucalion was also thought to have grounded on a 
mountain of Syria ; and in that country, as wc learn from Lucian, the tra- 
dition of his voyage was preserved with yet greater minuteness of detail than 
elsewhere. He is plunged in the lake Serbonis : but his Egyptian history 
immediately connects him with the deluge, as sufficiently appears from the 
part which he acts against Osiris and Horus. 

Typhon in short, when his legend is not obscured by that mystic theocrasy 
which blended him with Osiris, is the ocean at the time of the flood, as the 
Egyptian priests themselves acknowledged : and it is curious to observe, how 
accurately the language of Moses coincides with the hieroglyphical descrip- 
tion of Apollodorus. Moses tells us, that the waters of the deluge prevailed 

" lies. Thcot;. ver. 820—868. Apoll. Bibl. lib. i. c. 6. § 3. Anton. Liber. Mctam. c. 
xwiii. Ovid. Metam. lib. r. ver. 321—331, 346—355. Ilyg. Fab. 197. Hyg. Poet. Astron. 
lib. ii. c. 30. jEschyl. Prom. Vinct. ver. 3al — 355. Homer. Iliad, lib. ii. ver. 783. fetrab. 
Geog.lib. -wi. p. 784. Herod, lib. ii. c. 144. lib. iii. c. 5. Herodotus indeed says, that Ty- 
phon lay hid in the lake Serbonis ; an expression, which seems rather to relate to him in his 
character of the arkitc deity: but Stephanas says, that he was thunderstruck thero. 



THE OKI GIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 955 

exceedingly upon the earth, that all the high hills under the whole heaven ^"''^''- '*• 
were covered, and that the waters rose fitteen cubits above the tops of the 
loftiest mountains." Apoliodorus says, that tlie arms of Typhon reached 
from the utmost boundaries of the west to the extremity of the east, that in 
height he surpassed the summits of the tallest hills, and that his head seemed 
to strike the stars/ Nor is the very word Typhon even yet obsolete in the 
sense which the Egyptians ascribed to it: the Arabs still express the general 
deluge by the name al Tiifan.^ 

7. Yet, while the character of Typhon relates thus chiefly to the flood, I 
am inclined to suspect, that even its mystic intercommunion with that of 
Osiris does not exhibit the full extent to which it has been carried. 

Typhon has e\ iciently a strong atiinity to the Ahriman of Persia and the 
destroying Siva of Hindostan. From the former therefore, as he appears in 
tlie Zend-Avesta, I am led to conjecture, that Typhon was not simply the 
deluge, but the deluge viewed as the work of the evil principle : and, from 
a remarkable part of tlie legend of Siva, I am further induced to think, 
agreeably to the prevalent doctrine of a succession of similar worlds, that in 
Typhon, viewed as the brother and murderer of Osiris, we may trace an 
ultimate reference to the primeval fratricide Cain. Siva at least is certainly 
that fratricide ; w hen he is manilested upon earth, as one of the three sons 
of Adima or the first Menu, and as the murderer of his brother Dacsha at 
a memorable sacrifice : hence, when we consider the palpable identity of the 
Hindoo and Egyptian superstitions, and when we find Typhon similarly de- 
scribed as the murderer of his brother Osiris ; the presumption is, that a si- 
milar ultimate reference was intended, though the death of Osiris chiefly re- 
lated to the entrance of the great father into the Ark. Various other pa- 
rallel stories may be mentioned, all of which ought, I think, to be ascribed 
to tlie same origin. Thus there was a notion, that one of the Corybantes 
or Cabiri was slain by his two brothers : thus lasion is said to have fallen 
by the hand of his brother Dardanus : and thus the life of Danaus is feigned 

' Gen. vii. 17-20. » Apollod. BibL lib. i. c. 6. § 3. 

' Anc. Univ. Hist. vol. i. p. 200. note E. 



256 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. to have been sought by his brother Egyptus.' In each of these instances 
we have but a repetition of the murder of Osiris by Typhon or of Dacsha by 
Siva, as is plain by every one of the agents being immediately connected 
with the deluge : for the Cabiri were eminently diluvian gods, Dardanus es- 
caped in a ship at the time of a flood, and Danaus was the navigator of the 
Argo or Argha no less than Osiris or Siva. The Hindoo legend, in which 
the double manifestation of Siva as a member both of the family of the first 
and of the seventh Menu is distinctly set forth, will best serve as an expla- 
nation of those other fables, which have so clearly sprung from the same 
source. 

II. The ark, within which Typhon inclosed Osiris, was thought to have 
drifted on shore in Phenicia : and the Egyptians, as we are informed by Lu- 
cian, had a custom of yearly commemorating this supposed event by com- 
mitting to the winds and waves a papyrine vessel ; which in form represented 
the head of the deity, and which was feigned to be wafted in seven days to 
Byblos by a supernatural impulse.' This ceremony Procopius immediately 
connects with the Mysteries of Adonis or Thammuz. He tells us, that, the 
same day on which the Byblians began to weep for Adonis, the Alexan- 
drians inclosed a sealed letter in an earthen vessel ; the purport of which 
was, that the god was found again. Then, after the due performance of 
certain mystic rites, they cast it into the sea. It was reported to drift spon- 
taneously to Byblos : and its arrival put an end to the lamentations for the 
lost Adonis, and changed them into the most frantic expressions of joy on 
account of his reinvention.' Nor was Adonis only supposed to have been 
lost, and then recovered : he was also annually bewailed with funereal rites, 
as a person that had been slain ; and he was afterwards welcomed with loud 
acclamations, on his fictitious return to life.* 

Now the rites, celebrated in honour of Osiris, were of an exactly similar 

* Jul. Firm, de error, prof. rel. p. 23. Serv. in ^Eneid. lib. iii. ver. l63 — 17O. Schol. in 
Apoll. Argon, lib. i. ver. 4. Clem. Alex. Cohort, p. 12. 

* Luc. de dea Syra. § 7. See pTale I. Fig. 12. 
' Procop. in Esai. c. xviii. apud Selden. 

* Luc. dedea Syra. § 6. Phurn. de nat. deor. c. xxviii. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 257 

nature ; the god was for a time bewailed, as one lost or murdered ; after- '^'^ ^*'- ' 
wards he was thought to be found or to be reanimated, and the wild sorrow 
of his votaries was exchanged for yet wilder joy.' 

Thus it appears then, that the Mysteries of the two deities were in all 
points substantially the same : and it further appears, that they were avowedly 
connected with each other, both by the imaginary drifting of the ark of Osiris 
to the Phenician coast, and by the annual voyage of the papyrine or earthen 
vessel to Byblos. Hence we maybe sure, that, as Osiris and Adonis are equally 
the Sun, so they are equally one character likewise in their human capacity. 
Accordingly Lucian tells us, that some of the Byblians maintained, that Osiris 
was buried in their country, and that their Orgies were instituted not in honour 
of Adonis but of the Egyptian divinity.' Their opinion was so far right, 
that Osiris was undoubtedly the hero of their ISIysteries : yet it was nuga- 
tory to assert, that Adonis was therefore not the hero of them. Adonis and 
Osiris were in fact one person : or rather Adonis and Osiris were but dif- 
ferent names of one deity, venerated alike in Egj'pt and Phenicia with rites 
first gloomily funereal and afterwards tumultuously joyful. 

Such being the case, as the Mysteries of Osiris were the same as those 
of Seth or Typhon or Baal-Peor, the Mysteries of Adonis must also be 
identified with the Orgies of that god. The sacrifices therefore of the dead, 
which the Israelites partook of in the worship of Baal-Peor, must have been 
those that were offered up to him during the time of his supposed death or 
disappearance. To this species of idolatry, which prevailed alike in Egypt 
and Phenicia, they continued to be pertinaciously attached long after the 
days of Moses : for Ezekiel speaks of women weeping for Thammuz, as one 
of the many abominations of his degenerate countrymen.' The mournful 
rites of Adonis were well known hkewise at Argos, so famous for its many 
memorials of the deluge; in which place, as elsewhere, his loss was statedly 
bewailed by the females.* He was equally venerated in the island of Cy- 
prus, where, if I mistake not, he was known by his scriptural name of 

Jul. Firm, de error, prof. rcl. p. 4, 5, 6. Ovid. Metara. lib. ix. ver. 692. lib. x. ver, 
725—727. 

* Luc. de dca Syra. § 7. ^ Ezek. viii. 14. ♦ Paus. Corinth, p. 121. 

Pag. Idol. vol.. II. 2 K 



258 THE ORIGIN 01- PAGAN lUOLATUV. 

nooK IV. Thammuz : for the sacred peculium of tlio temple, wliicb was dedicated in 
that country to l)is paramour Venus, was denominated Tamascum.^ 

1. Adonis being the same as Osiris, and his Mysteries perfectly corre- 
sponding with those of the Egyptian deity, we shall find that their respective 
legends have a considerable degree of resemblance to each other. 

Adonis was thought to have been tlie lover of Venus, and to have been 
slain by a wild boar or (according to Nonnus) by Mars in the shape of a 
boar. Typhon was said to have been in pursuit of a boar at the time of the 
full Moon, when he found and rent asunder the wooden ark which contained 
the body of Osiris.* When Adonis was slain by the boar, he at the same 
time disappeared :■ in consequence of which he was sought for by Venus io 
various countries, and at length found in Argos a city of Cyprus.' In a si- 
milar manner, the lost Osiris was sought for by Isis, and his mangled body 
at last discovered by her in Phenicia. Venus here performs the part of 
Isis : and mythologists accordingly inform us, that they were one and 
the same goddess. Each was equally the receptacle of the hero-gods, 
or the ship of the deluge. Hence Adonis is worshipped with the sea- 
born Veaus, just as Osiris is with the navicular Isis : and, as the Moon 
Avas the astronomical symbol of the Ark, we find them peculiarly ve- 
nerated on the summit of Lebanon, which was one of the many tran- 
scripts of the true lunar mountain Ararat or Luban.* 

Tlie most prominent and definite circumstance however in the history 
of Osiris is certainly his inclosure in an ark : this, accordingly, could not 
be omitted in the legend of Adonis. But here he sustains the additional 
character of the infant Horus. Venus, we are told, being struck with his 
beauty while he was yet a child, concealed him from the other gods in an ark, 
which she committed to the care of Proserpine. That goddess became 
equally enamoured, and refused to restore him. The matter being referred 
to Jupiter, lie decreed, that Adonis should spend four months with him, 

' Ovid. Mctam. lib. x. ver. 6-ii. 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 21. Nonni Dioiiys. lib. xli. Plut. <le Isid. p. 354. 

' Ptol. llcph. Nov, Hist. lib. vii. p. 336. * Macrob. Saturn, lib. c. 2\^ 



THE ORIGiy OF PAGAN" IDOLATRY. 259 

four with Proserpine, and four witli Venus.' This inclosure in the ark, as chap, iv. 
as appears from the parallel fable of Osiris, was really the time of his alle- 
gorical death : and, as the arkite divinity under whatever name was gener- 
ally feigned to have experienced such a death, we usually find him reputed 
to have also visited the infernal regions and to have returned in safety from 
them. In all these cases the inclosure within the Ark was meant, ivhich it- 
self was therefore consistently esteemed a coffin. Noah remained shut up 
somewhat more than a year : hence Adonis, as we learn from Theocritus, 
was supposed to have continued a year in Hades before he emerged to light 
and liberty.* 

2. Hesiod represents Adonis as being the son of Phenix and Alphesib^a : 
but the more common opinion is, that he was born from the incestuous in- 
tercourse of Cinyras with his own daughter Myrrha. Cinyras was said to 
be a king of Assyria or Babylonia, who in a state of intoxication had inter- 
course with his daughter. The consequence of it was the birth of Adonis. 
But, according to Antoninus Liberalis, this Cinyras, whom he calls Theias 
or Thoth, was the son of Belus ; and he tells us, that Myrrha was born in 
mount Lebanon.' 

The whole legend curiously connects itself both with the preceding his- 
tory of Adonis, and with other parts of ancient mythology which I have al- 
ready had occasion to notice. Alphesib^a and iNIyrrha are both, I believe, 
equally the Ark or the great mother : and, as the name of the latter denotes 
the Moon of the water; so that of the former, which is a compound of 
two synonymous words, Phenician and Greek, the one apparently added to 
explain the other, signifies the heifer, an animal, which, from its being a sym- 
bol of the Ark, the Syrians were wont also to call Theba.* She was the 
same as the horned Astartc or bovine Venus of the Phenicians : whence 
arose the notion of her being peculiarly born on the summit of Le- 

• Apoll. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 13. § i. * Thcoc. Idyll, xv. Ter. 101—103. 

' Hesiod. apud Apoll. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 13. J 4. Fulgent. Mythol. lib. iii. c. 8. Hyg. Fab. 
l54, 24!3. Anton. Liber. Mctam. c. xx.xiii. 

* Murrha seems to bu Mou-Rha. 'I lie word Rha or Ira equally signifies the Moon in tlie 
Cbaldoc and iheoldCclto-Scylhic -.and such an etymology perfectly accords with her supposed 
birth on Lebaoon or the mountain of ihc Moon. Alphaibia is compounded of Alcph and Bous. 



260 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. banon, which was their local mountain of the Moon, and in which Vemis- 
Architis the paramour of Adonis was specially venerated.' Her consort or 
lover Phenix bears a name common to all the Phenicians, but which 
they themselves seem to have assumed from a title of the principal arkite 
divinity. Phanac or Pheriij; was an appellation of Osiris, Adonis, or 
Bacchus : for Adonis was the very same character as his mythological father; 
and the whole fable of his incestuous birth originated from the complex re- 
lationship of father and son, which the intoxicated Noah was thought to 
bear to the Ark.^ But the legend carries us also into Assyria or Babylonia, 
and thfit in a manner not a little curious : for the reputed father of Adonis 
is said to have been the son of the Assyrian Bclus ; and a notion prevailed, 
that his fabulous mother was changed into a tree, in which condition she 
brought him into the world. Now it is a remarkable circumstance, that 
Semiramis, who by many was esteemed the same as Rhea, Venus, Atarga- 
tis, or the Syrian goddess, was variously feigned to have been metamor- 
phosed into a tree and a dove. The tree alluded to was an excavated tree 
or canoe, such as was used in the Mysteries of Cybel^ : and the birth of 
Adonis from it, like the revival of Attis from the hollowed trunk, means only 
the birth of Noah from the Ark. In the Hindoo mythology, Parvati, during 
the period of the deluge, similarly assumes the forms of a dove and of the 
ship Argha which answers to the excavated tree. ; 

III. Throughout Phrygia, Osiris or Adonis was worshipped under the 
name of Jitis or Alys: and he was there supposed to be the favourite of 
Cybel^ ; who, like Venus or Isis, was the great universal mother. The rites 
of Attis were of the same alternately melancholy and joyful description as 
those of Adonis and Osiris : and he was supposed to have been bewailed 
by Cybelfe, just as his two kindred deities were by Venus and Isis.' Ac- 
cording to Diodorus, Attis Avas slain by Meon or Menes the father of Cy- 
belfe: upon which the goddess wandered over the whole world, Avith dishe- 
velled hair like one insane, on account of the murder of her lover.* This 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 21. * Auson. Epig. xxx, 

* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i.e. 21. Jul. Firm, de error, prof. rcl. p. 20. 

♦ Diod. Bibl. Hb. iii. p. 191, 192. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATHV. 261 

legend is plainly a mere variation of the fables of Obiris and Adonis : for <^"'""- '"• 
Menes is the primeval Alenes or Menu or Menwyd of Egypt and Hindos- 
tan and Britain ; and the imagined shepherd Attis was astronomically the 
Sun in his character of the classical Apollo-Nomius and the Indian pastoral 
Crishna, while in his human character (as we are specially informed by Ma- 
crobius and Clemens) he was the very same person with Bacchus and Ado- 
nis.' Accordingly, the frantic Bacchantes were wont to exclaim, in honour 
of their god, Evoe, Sabui, Hues, Attes, Attes, Hue.s.^ 

Attis being the great arkite father, Catullus justly describes him as sailing 
over the ocean in a swift ship before he took up Lis abode in Phrygia.' 
This voyage was the same as the imagined voyage of Cronus to Italy, and 
of Osiris to Phenicia: they were all the voyage of Noah. The propriety 
of such an opinion will appear from the manner, in which this navigation of 
Attis was introduced into the rites of Cybelfe. Julius Firmicus tells us, that 
at the annual celebration of the Phrygian Mysteries a pine-tree was cut down, 
and the image of a young man bound fast in the middle of it. These Mys- 
teries, he says, were sacred to the mother of the gods : and he adds, that in 
the Orgies of Isis a similar ceremony was observed ; for the trunk of a. 
pine-tree was dexterously excavated like a canoe, and an image of Osiris 
made from the cuttings of the wood was inclosed within it as a dead body is 
within a coffin.'^ Thus it is evident, that the Cybele of Phrygia is the Isis 
of Egypt ; and the Attis of Phrygia, the Osiris of Egypt. Consequently, 
the inclosure of Attis in the boat made out of the pine-tree must have the 
same mythological allusion, as the inclosure of Osiris within the aik or the 
ship Argo : and the imaginary death, and burial, and revival, of Attis must 
be the imaginary death, and burial, and revival, of Osiiis. 

The son of the Phrygian Attis, whom I believe to bo the very same an- 
cient personage as the god Attis or Menes, was feigned to have led a colony 
of Lydians and Pelasgi into Tyrrhenia. They seated themselves on the banks 
of the lake Cotyl^, which had a floating island like that named Chemmis in 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 21. Clem. Alex. Cohort, p. 12. 

* Evoi, "La-^oi, "Trjs, Arrrjs, Arrvjj, 'Ti;?. 

' CatuU, Eleg. 60. ♦ Jul. Firm, di; error, prof. rd. p. 53, 5^. 



262 th£ origin of pagan idolatry. 

nooK IV. ti,g sacred Egyptian lake near Buto. Sometimes however Hercules was 
thouglit to have been their captain, who sailed over the sea in a golden cup; 
and sometimes, Telephus, who when an infant was exposed with his mother in 
an ark. The meaning of the legend is sufficiently plain. Hercules, Attis, 
and the ark-exposed Telephus, are all one person: and, under the supposed 
guidance of the ancient deity who was venerated by these different appellations, 
the new colony carried with them into Italy their paternal diluvian rites of 
Attis or Adonis or Osiris, of the consecrated lake, and of the symbolical 
floating island. ' 

IV. The identity of Attis and Adonis will be shewn in a yet stronger light, 
if we once more return into Phenicia. We there find a deity, worshipped by 
the Greeks and Romans under the name of Asclepius or Esculapim, respect- 
ing whom a story is told, which blends together the fables of those two gods, 
and thus, while it proves them to be mutually the same, proves also that 
they are each the same as Esculapius. 

According to Sanchoniatho, Sydyk or tfie just man, who is clearly the 
patriarch Noah, was the father of the seven Cabiri, who were the builders 
of the first ship or the ship Argo : and to them an eighth brother was added, 
tlience deirominuted Esmimi, but properly called Asclepius. Respecting 
him Damascius relates, that, although worshipped by the Greeks, he was 
really neither Greek nor Egyptian, but a Phenician god peculiarly adored at 
Berytus or the city of the Baris, where the Cabiri had consecrated the relics 
of the ocean or tiic deluge : that he was a youth ot such beauty as to engage 
tlte affections of the goddess Astrono^, the mother of the gods : and that, 
finding himself perpetually followed by her while engaged in the chase, he at 
length, to avoid her importunities, castrated himself with a hatchet.* 

Every thing in this legend combines to shew, that Asclepius is the same 
as tlie emasculated or hermaphroditic Attis and Adonis, and that Astrono^ or 
Astoreth is the same as Venus and Cybcl^. Hence it will follow, that he is 
a diluvian god : and the whole of his mythological history will confirm the 
opinion. 

■ Dionys. Malic. Ant. Rom. lib. i. c. 15, 19. Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. iii. c. 12. Hyg. Fab. 
274. Tzctz. in Lycoph. vcr. 1237, 1242, 13J1. 

* Eusib. Prap. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. Dainas. \it. Isid. apud Phot. Bibl. p. 1073. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 263 

He was the great healer and restorer of the human race: and, in his 
astronomical character of the Sun, he was worshipped in conjunction with 
Salus or the Moon; for the lunar boat was a symbol of that Ark, which af- 
forded health or safety to the Noetic fl^mily. ' He was curiously connected 
both with the dove and the raven, which are introduced so conspicuously into 
the Mosaical account of the flood.* He was thought to have returned from 
the infernal regions, and to have possessed the power of bringing back others 
from the same place : that is to say, he was supposed, like Osiris and Ado- 
nis, to have died and to have revived.* And he was one of the navigators of 
the ship Argo ; which was also the ship or Baris of Osiris, and which is tiie 
same as the Argha tliat safely conveyed the Indian Siva over the waters of 
the deluge. * In reference to this part of his character, his temple at Rome 
was built in an island of the Tiber; and the island itself, which seems to have 
been commensurate with the temple in point of size, was curiously fashioned 
with a breast-work of marble into the form of a ship, the higher part of it 
imitating the stern, and the lower part the prow. ^ The shape, which this 
god peculiarly delighted to assume, was that of a serpent : but the serpent 
was one of the chief emblems of the great father in every quarter of the globe. 
Thus Macrobius tells us, that a serpent was subjoined to the statues of Escu- 
lapius and Salus, considered as the Sun and Moon.* Of these the Orphic 
poet invokes the former by the name of the Saviour ; and celebrates the lat- 
ter, as the universal queen and the great mother of all.' 

V. We are assured by Clemens Alexandrinus, that Attis was the same as 
Bacchus or Dionusus ; and by Macrobius, that Attis, Osiris, Adonis, and 
Bacchus, were all one deity.* Diodorus likewise concurs in asserting the 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 20. 

* Paus. Corinth, p. 133. Arcad. p. 496. Lactan. Iiisiit. lib. 1. c. 10. Apollod. Bibl. lib. 
jii. c. 10.. 

* Hyg. Fab. 251. Diod. Bibl. lib. iv. p. 273. ApoUod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 10. § 3. 

* Hyg. Fab. 14. 

' Liv. Hist. Epit. lib. xi. Ovid. Metara. lib. xv. ver. 739. Valer. Maxim, lib. i. c. 8. 
Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. xxix. c. i. Dion. Halic. in excerpt, a Vales. 
" Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 20. 
' Orph.' Hymn. Ixvi. Ixvii. 
' Clem. Cohort, p. 12. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i.'c. 21, 18.. 



BOOK IV. 



264 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

identity of the classical Bacchus and the Egyptian Osiris.' Accordingly, if 
we examine the fabulous history of Bacchus, we shall plainly see, that the old 
mythologists were not mistaken in entertaining such opinions respecting him. 

1. The same enemies, that assailed the Egyptian deity, were thought also 
to have turned their fury against Bacchus. He was attacked by the Titans, 
who obtained him through a stratagem from his guardians the Curetes or 
Cabiri ; was slain by them ; and was divided into seven pieces. Afterwards 
his mangled carcase, like that of the elder Corybas, was buried in the arkite 
mountain Parnassus : but at length his members were carefully collected by 
Rhea, and joined together again. * Nonnus says, that this happened, not in 
the vicinity of mount Parnassus, but in the region of Bactriana near the 
Caspian sea, or in that very tract of country where the Hindoos place the 
garden of Eden and suppose the Ark to have grounded : while Julius Firmi- 
cus lays the scene of the tragedy in Crete, and represents Juno as being the 
instigator of the Titans. ' 

2. Such varying tales are built upon mere local appropriations, similar to 
that by which the Egyptians placed the sufferings of Osiris in their own 
country : and they all equally relate to the events of the deluge. The death 
and dilaceration and burial of the ship-god, in whatever region they were 
fabled to have occurred, were the same as his descent into Hades : and, by 
that descent, was meant his entrance into the Ark. Hence, as Bacchus was 
supposed to have been slain and torn in pieces and interred ; so was he like- 
wise feigned to have visited the world of spirits. The Greeks believed this 
event to have taken place at Lerna in Argolis, doubtless because the comnie- 
hiorative Mysteries of the infernal Ceres were there celebrated. It was 
situated near the sea ; and it was at once the scene of the metamorphosis of 
lo or Isis into the symbolical heifer, and of the mythological rape of Proser- 
pine. Here also Danaus was thought to have landed from the ship Argo : 
and here was a temple dedicated to Bacchus the Preserver and Venus float- 

• Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 13. 

* Clem. Cohort, p. 12. Phurn. de nat. deer. c. xxx. Plut, de Isid. p. 368. Orph. Fragm. 
apud Proc. inTim. lib. iii. p. 184. 

' Nonni Dionys. lib. vi. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p, 521. Jul, Firm, de error, prof. reJt p. 13, 14. 



THE ORIGIIJ OF PAGAN IDOLATUr. ^65 

ing on the sea, or, in other words, to Noah and the Ark. The reason, on '"*''• "• 
account of nliith Bacchus descended into the infernal regions, was, that he 
might fetch his mother from thence. This he accomplished, and was after- 
wards translated with her to heaven.' 

3. Tiie Lernean Orgies, in which the history of the great father and tlie 
great mother was scenically represented, are said to have been instituted by 
the hierophant Philammon: and they were the same as those at Eieusis. * 
Like Adonis, Osiris, and Attis, Bacchus v^•as first lamented as one dead : after- 
wards his votaries broke out into the most frantic exclamations of riotous joy 
-on account of his supposed revival.' Similar rites prevailed in Crete. Julius 
Firnncus tells us, that, when he was torn in pieces by the Titans, his sister 
Minerva preserved his heart, and afterwards made a representation of him 
in plaister within Mhich she inclosed it. In commemoration of this the 
Cretans had an annual festival, in which all that Bacchus had done and suf- 
fered was regularly exhibited by proper actors. They made the woods re- 
sound with loud lamentations, and studiously assumed the character of 
maniacs. In their phrenzy they tore a living bull with their teeth, and bran- 
dished serpents in their hands. Above all, with the sound of pipes and the 
tinkling of cymbals, they carried about the ark in which Minerva was sup- 
posed to have concealed his heart.* 

4. This ark of Bacchus is certainly the same as the ark of Osiris or 
Amnion, which Diodorus expressly calls a ship, and which was similarly 
carried about under the pretended impulse of the deity by eighty of the 
priests of Egypt ; a number which is the decuple of their ogdoad of great 
navicular gods. ' I greatly fear however, that Firmicus is mistaken in saying 
that it was the heart of the god which it contained : for we learn from Cle- 

' Paus. Corintli. p. 155, 156. Strab. Geog. lib. viii. p. 371. .Eschyl. Prom. Vinct. ver. 
674. Schol. in Apoli. .Argon, lib. i. vcr. i. Apollod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 5. § 3. 

* Pans. Corinth, p. 155. 

* Lugc'te Libtrum, lugete Proserpinam, iugcte Attin, lugete Osjrin. Jul. Firm, de error, 
prof. rcl. p. 20. 

* Jut. Firm, de err. prof. rcl. p. 14, 15. Arnob, adv. gent. lib. v. 
' Diod. Bibl. lib. xvii. p. 528. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 21L 



IIOOK IV. 



266 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRl'. 

mens, that it was no heart, but, on the contrary, that disgraceful hieroglyphic 
of the great father, which was so very generally introduced into the ancient 
Mysteries.' Yet Bacchus was sometimes represented literally, and therefore 
more decorously. Pausanias mentions a sacred ark, which, at the capture of 
Troy, was thought to have fallen to the lot of Eurypylus. It was said to 
have been the Mork of Vulcan, and the gift of Jupiter to Dardanus. Within 
it was placed a ligure of Bacchus-Esymnetes : and, at a stated festival, it 
was carried in solemn procession by the priests and priestesses much in the 
same manner as that of Ammon or Osiris.' A similar ark was used in the 
Orgies of the Hetruscans, who are supposed to have received their theology 
from Phrygia; likewise in the Mysteries of the Samothracian Cabiri : and it 
contained the same hieroglyphic of the great father, to which I have just 
alluded.' 

That by the ark of Bacchus we are to understand a ship, is sufficiently 
plain from his legendary history, even independent of that ark being palpably 
the same as the Argo of Osiris. When an infant, he was inclosed, we are 
told, with his mother Semel^ in an ark, and thus cast into the sea. The 
ark, floating on the surface of the waters, bore him in safety to Brasiae near 
Epidaurus. Here he landed : and Ino or Isis, having come in the course of 
her wanderings to the same place, became his nurse. The sacred cave, in 
which she performed her office, and which itself symbolized the mundane 
Ark, was still shewn in the days of Pausanias.* Nor is this the only instance, 
in which that deity appears as a navigator. He is represented by Philostratus 
as sailing in a ship decked with vine-leaves and ivy : and there was a tradition, 
that once, when he was performing a voyage to Hetruria (by which was meant 
the introduction of the Bacchic Mysteries into that country), and was in dan- 
ger from the treachery of the mariners ; he changed the mast and the oars of 

' Clem. Alex. Cohort, p. 12. Diodoius justly deduces the impious rites of the phallus 
from the allegorical calamities which befell Osiris and Bacchus. To the same source he with 
equal propriety refers the worship of Priapus, Typhon, or Baal-Peor. Died. Bibl. lib. iv. p. 
214. lib. i.p. 19. 

* Paus. Achaic. p. 435, 436. 

' Clem. Alex. Cohort, p. 12. Euseb. Pra;p. Evan. lib. ii. c. 3. 

♦ Paus. Lacon. p. 209. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 267 

the vessel into serpents, the vessel itself into a stone rising out of the sea, 
and the mariner sinto dolphins. ' 

5. As an arkite god, he was highly venerated at Thebes, and was some- 
times thought to have Ijeen born there ; whence he was called Tkebegtnes : 
but the Theba of his real second nativity was not the city, but the Ark from 
which the city received its name. Theba was certainly the same as Hippa; 
who, like Ino or Isis, was feigned to have been the nurse of Bacchus and to 
have received him into her womb at his second birth from what the Greeks 
by an odd misprision of terms called the thigh of Jupiter.' Me?'u happens 
to be the first oblique case of the word, which in their language signifies a 
thigh : but it is also the name of the famous sacred mountain of the Hindoos, 
which was the favourite abode of the mariner-god Siva after the deluge, and 
from which Deo-Naush proceeded on his celebrated career of victory. Now 
Deo-Naush is certainly the same as the Dionusus of the Greeks ; and the 
arkite Dionusus is no less evidently the Arghanath Siva. The Meru then, 
whence Bacchus was born^ has nothing in common with the thigh of Jupiter 
beyond the sound which it conveyed to a Greek ear. As Diodorus excel- 
lently observes, it was the Indian mountain so called, which the poets 
strangely transformed into a thigh : but of that mountain Ararat was the true 
prototype, for there the real Bacchus experienced his second birth from the 
womb of his allegorical mother.' What was meant by this second birth is 

' Philost. Icon. lib. i. c. Ip. ApoU. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 5. § 3. Ovid. Metam. lib. iii. ver. 
629 — 700. Nonni Dionys. lib. xlvii. 

* 'O ii aita Tov iJ-r^^ou rov Aio; Tf^tsKTiv si; avrr^v. Proc. in Tim. apud Gesn. Orph. p. 401. 

' Diod. Bibl. lib. ii.i p. 123. Strab. Geog. lib. xv. p. 687. It is not unworthy of observa- 
tion, that Sosthencs, as cited by Plutarch, instead of saying that Dionusus was born on mount 
Meru, tells us that mount Argillus was the place of his nativity. Plut. de flumin. Argillus 
however is really the same as Meru: for the word is compounded of Argha and Ila, which 
are equally titles of the ship-goddess that delights to haunt the summit of the holy mountain. 
Accordingly, the top of Meru, where the ship Argha rested at the closeof the deluge, is styled 
lla-vratta or the circle of Ila. The propriety of this opinion is manifest from the appellation, 
which the divines of Thibet still bestow upon mount Meiu. They caW '\t Righiel, which is a 
mere literal transposition ot Arghiel, whence the Greeks formed their Argil or Argillus. 
With the same reference lo the mystic ship, the sacred caverns of the old Cimmerii in Italy 
were called ^rg-jfe. Strab. Geog. lib. v. p. 244. From a similar source likewise proceeded 
the British name of Argyle ; which the Cimmerian Druids have bestowed upon a district in 
Scotland, abounding in holy lakes, and in the immediate vicinity of their sacred islands. 



258 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. sufficiently evident : yet it is wortliy of observation, tliat Diodonis even ex- 
pressly refers it to the epoch of the deluge ; so that its true import was by no 
means lost in the gentile world, though obscured by the humour of physical 
allesorizins. Considering Bacchus as a personification of the vine, he tells 
us, that the god died at the period of the flood of Deucalion Avhen the whole 
earth was ravaged by the waters ; and that he revived with other natural 
productions when the inundation retired. Tiiis restoration to life, when the 
deity who had vanished for a season appeared again to the eyes of men, is the 
same thing, he asserts, as his second birth. ' 

6. With respect to his nurse Hippa, she was thought by some to be the 
daughter of Danaus, who was feigned to have sailed to Greece in the ship 
Argo: but, according to the Orphic poet, she was the same as Proserpine 
or Cybelfe. * She was doubtless the same also as Isis ; for that goddess and 
Hippa are indifferently said to have been the nuise or recipient of Bacchus. 
Proclus styles her the life of the Universe, and ascribes to her the charac- 
teristics of Ceres : accordingly, in the mythology both of Greece and of 
Britain and of Hindostan, Ceres or Ceridwen or Sri was supposed to have 
assumed the form of a Hippa or mare, and thus to have received the em- 
braces either of the ruler of the ocean or of the navicular Sun, who had taken 
the corresponding shape of ahorse.' Hippa, in short, the fabled nurse of 
Bacchus, was the same as the ship Ceridwen or Argo or Argha : that is to 
say, she was the same as Theba or the Ark, that mythological goddess, who 
was esteemed the common receptacle of all the hero-deities. Sometimes she 
was called Nusa ; as Bacchus himself was denominated Nusus or Dio- 
Nusus, by the Hindoos expressed Deo-Naush. Dio-Nus is evidently the 
divine Nus or Noah ; and Nusa is but the feminine form of the same ^\■ord. 
The appellation Niisa was no less famous than Theba or Argha : and from 
this imaginary nurse of Bacchus many different places were thought to have 
received their names. Thus there was a mount Nusa in Beotia, in Thrace, 
in Arabia, in India, in Lybia, and in Naxus ; a city Nusa, in Caria, in 

' Diod. Bibl. lib. iii. p. 196. 

* Ilesych. Lex. 'iTTTrfioy. Orph. Hymn, xlviii. 

* Proc. in Tim. apud Gosn. Orph. p. 401 . Ptol. lleph. Nov, Hist. lib. iii> p. 312. Davies's 
Mytbol. p. 2jr» 258. Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. I68. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATllY. 36^ 

mount Caucasus, and in India ; and an island Nusa, in the Nile. Scytho- 
polis was once called Nusa : such also was the name of one of the peaks of 
thearkite Parnassus ; and there was a Nusa in Ediiopia, where the Mysteries 
of Bacchus were formerly celebrated w ith much devotion. Nusa likewise 
was the fancied scene of Jupiter's final triumph over Typhon or the ocean ; 
by whom Bacchus, as well as the other hero-gods, was thought to have been 
put to flight : and it was over the plains of Nusa, that this deity fled in wild 
dismay from Lycurgus, ere he plunged into tlie Erythrtan sea where he was 
protected by Thetis from the rage of his enemy.' Tlie island Nusa was, I 
doubt not, one of the sacred islands, which, like Dclos and Chemmis, typified 
the mundane Ark : the several cities of that name were so called in honour 
of the great universal mother Nusa, Theba, Argha, or Baris: and the various 
hills, which were similarly designated, were each a high place of the transmi- 
grating diluvian god, each a copy of Ararat where the primeval Nusa rested 
and where the deity Nusus experienced that second birth so famous among 
the old mythologists. As for the flight of Bacchus from Lycurgus and his 
plunging into the Erythr^an sea, I take it to be the same event as his flight 
from Typhon : each relates to the perils, which Noah underwent during the 
prevalence of the deluge. 

7. Diflferent accounts are given of the birth of Bacchus. Sometimes he 
was said to be the son of Jupiter and Proserpine, each of whom, like Bacchus 
himself, was reckoned a Cabiric deity ; in which case, allusively to his mystic 
descent into Hades, he was esteemed an infernal god : sometimes, of Jupiter 
and Scmelfe: sometimes, of Cabitus, which is clearly an erroneous reading 
for Cabh'us: sometimes, of an Asiatic or Indian prince named Caprius ; 
this was Bacchus-Sabazius, the Siva or Seba of Hindoo mythology : some- 
times, of Nilus or Oceanus (as the Egvptians called their sacred symbolical 
river), who was thought to have built one of the cities denominated Kusa : 
sometimes, of Nusus and Thyone ; the Di-Youi or female principle of the 
Brahmenical superstition, which floated in the form of the sinp Argha on the 
waves of the deluge : and sometimes, of Jupiter and the Moon; by which 

' Scliol. in Iliad, lib. vi. vcr. 134. Plir. Nat. Hist. lib. v. c. IS. Apollod. Bibl. lib. iii. 
c. 4. Ilc'iod. Hist. lib. iii. c. *)". Apollod, Bibl. lib. i. c. 6. Horn. Iliad, lib. vi. vcr. 130. 
Nonui Dionys. lib. x.\. Strab. Geog. lib. xiv. p. 6^^. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 500, 501. 



Q70 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. was meant the Ark symbolized by the lunar crescent. ' These fables are all 
fundamentally the same ; and they equally serve to teach us, that, in whatever 
countiy he might be worshipped, he was a Cabiric god born from the Ark. 

8. We are told by the sacred historian, that Noah was the first man of 
the renovated world, that he was a cultivator of the ground, that he was the 
original postdiluvian planter of the vine, and that he was unhappily betrayed 
into drunkeness. 

The character of Bacchus here again corresponds with that of Noah. 
Though the Greeks so far corrupted his real history, as to represent him as 
one of the younger gods ; yet the Orphic poet tells us, that he was the first- 
born, and that under the name of Diomisus he was the first who came forth 
to the light of day from the floating egg within which he had been inclosed. * 
He was the oldest then of all the divinities : and, immediately after his mystic 
birth from the egg, previous to which he was supposed to have lain hidden 
after an ineffable manner, he became the inventor of wine. ' His mother 
Semel^ herself was sometimes fabled to have been a vine : and his whole 
legend is full of allusions to the planting of the first vineyard by Noah.* 
Setting out from Thebes ; by which was really meant, not the city, but the 
Thebaor Ark from which the city received its name : setting out from Thebes, 
he was thought, like Osiris, to have travelled with an army over the whole 
world ; and, in his progress, he was supposed to have taught mankind the 
art of cultivating the vine, of expressing the juice, and of receiving it into 
vats. Wherever he went, he was attended by a host of Satyrs, Sileni, and 
Bacchantes, inflamed with wine, and infuriated with enthusiastic devotion. 
He himself at their head, driven to a state of phrenzy by Juno, wandered 
first over Syria and Egypt; in the latter of which countries he was hospitably 
received by king Proteus. Thence he went into Phrygia, where he was 
initiated into the Mysteries of Rhea or Cybel^. From Phrygia he proceeded 

' Arrian. de exp. Alex. lib. ii. c. l6. Diod. Bibl. lib. v. p. 342. Athen. Legat. c. xix. 
Ampel. c, ix. Nonni Dion. lib. v. Orph. Hymn, xxviii. xxix. Ciccr, de Nat. deor. lib. iii, 
* C.23. ApoUod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 4. Etym. Magn. Zayffuj. 

* Orph. Hymn. v. 1, 2. xxix. 2. Fragm. apud Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. 
^ Orph. Hymn. xxix. 3. 

* Schol. in Hes. Theog. ver. 940. Athen. Legat. c. xix. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 271 

into Thrace; and, passing through Scythia, he made a progress through the 
whole of India. Wherever he went, he erected upright pillars, the constant 
symbols of his disgraceful worship from east to west. At length he returned 
to Thebes and Argos : and, having brought back his mother from the infernal 
regions, was finally with her translated to heaven. ' These travels, which, in 
the traditions of every country, commence, either from some place denomi- 
nated after the Ark, from some mountain where the Ark was thought to hare 
grounded, or from some region where the god was feigned to have been set 
afloat in an Ark, relate very evidently to the origination of mankind from 
mount Ararat and the ship of the deluge and to their subsequent dispersion 
over the face of the whole earth. As demonolatry was introduced before the 
dispersion, wherever the degenerate children of Noah migrated, they carried 
with them the ark of their deity, and believed themselves to travel under his 
immediate influence and protection. Hence Noah himself was feigned to 
have visited every part of the globe : and hence he was made the first king, 
the special ancestor, and the tutelary divinity, of all the nations of the earth. 
On this principle, though many different Greek cities claimed the honour of 
having given birth to Bacchus ; though the Cretans believed him to have been 
born in Crete, the Egyptians in Egypt or at Nusa in Arabia, and the Hin- 
doos at Nusa near mount IMeru : yet, since he was the common progenitor 
of all mankind, with the sole exception of the Armenian Ararat we are not to 
seek his true origin in any one country rather than another.* 

With the character of Noah, Bacchus likewise sustains that of Adam ; for 
the Gentiles esteemed the one patriarch a mere reappearance of the other. 
Hence, as the first man, as the first agriculturist, and as the universal father, 
he is not more the former of these than the latter. In conformity with this 
double character, which may be traced throughout the whole of ancient Pa- 
ganism, his Mysteries seem to have been purposely contrived. They, who 
celebrated them, were crowned with snakes; a serpent was the peculiar sym- 
bol of initiation; and the votaries of the god, as Clemens remarks, perpetu- 

' Diod. Bibl. lib. iii. p. 197- Oiph. Hymn. xli. Apollod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 5. Lactan. 
Instit. lib. i. c. 10. 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. iii. p. 195— 20G. Jul. Firm, de err. prof. rel. p. 13. Herod. Hist. lib. ii. 
c. 144, 145. Strab. Geog. lib. xv. p. 1008. 



272 THE ORIGIN Of PAGAK IDOLATRV. 

jjooK IV. ally called upon the name of that Eva, by whom the pristine error of man 
entered into the world.' Wlien I consider the prevalent doctrine of heathen 
mytholoiiy relative to the successive manifestations of the great father in 
difterent though similar worlds, I cannot esteem the conjecture of Clemens 
respecting the word Eva by any means improbable. 

VI. Diodorus tells us, that the Egyptians considered their god Osiris to 
be the same as the Greek Dionusus, and that the Indians similarly supposed 
him to have appeared in their country. Hence, in the days of Arrian, the 
latter people ascribed those identical actions to their own Dionusus, vviiich 
the former did to Osiris and the Greeks to Bacchus. He first brought men 
together into communities, gave them laws, and taught them the art of 
making wine. He was likewise their instructor in agriculture and in the 
worship of the gods ; and he was the first person, who yoked oxen to the 
plough.* 

Such being the case, the name of Dionus clearly leads us to identify him 
with the Hindoo Dco-Naush; though the legend of that personage does not 
at present coincide so minutely with the classical and Egyptian accounts of 
Bacchus and Osiris, as it appears to have done at the time when Arrian 
flourished.' Still however he is described, as similarly subduing and civi- 
lizing the whole world. Descending, according to the Puranas, from the 
elevated plains of little Bokhara, the arkite and Paradisiacal Mcru of Brah- 
inenical theology, he invaded with a numerous army the countries of Samar- 
cand, Bahlac, and Cabul, then inhabited by the Sacas and Sacasenas, the 
Saxons of our western part of the globe. Afterwards he conquered Iran, 
Egypt, and Ethiopia or Chusistan : and then, proceeding through Varaha- 
dwip or Europe, he subdued Cliandra-dwip or the British isles, the favou- 
rite abode of the god Lunus or Chandra. Next he advanced into Cum, 
which includes the northern parts of Europe and the whole of Siberia : and 
at length, having made himself master of China, all the countries which lie 

' Clem. Cohort, p. 9. 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. iv. p. 210. Arrian. Hist. Ind. p. 321. 

' This !>od was styled by the old Irish Bac/i and Dia-Nos, a clear proof of the cloie afliuity 
of their idolatry to th;it of Greece and Ilindoitan. Vallaucey's Vindic. p. '266. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. S73 

to the south of it, and the whole of Hindostan, he returned to the high plains f"'^*"-'*- 
of Meru through the pass of Hard war.' These fabulous conquests of Deo- 
Naush are evidently the same as those of Dionusus and Osiris, and they 
certainly relate to the same events. As both the Greek and the Egyptian 
god equally sets out from a city denominated Theba, by which was really 
meant the origination of all men from the Ark : so the Hindoo deity com- 
mences his expedition from mount Meru, where by the vanity of local appro- 
priation the ship of the deluge was said to have grounded as the waters retired 
from off the face of the earth. For Thebes and Meru substitute the Ark 
and mount Ararat ; and a mythological tale is changed into authentic 
history. 

What the Brahmens say of Deo-Naush throws much light both on his 
own particular character and on the general principles of demonolatry. 
Naush, we are told, was at first a mere mortal; but on mount Meru he 
became a Deva or god: hence he is called Deva-Naush or Deo-Naush in 
the vulgar dialects. Like the spiritual rulers of Tartary and Tibet, which 
countries include the holy mountains of Meru, Deo-Naush did not properly 
speaking die; but his soul shifted its habitation and entered into a new body, 
whenever the old one was worn out either through age or sickness. ^ This 
transmigrating Deo-Naush, who became a god on the summit of the Paradi- 
siacal and arkite Meru, is evidently the same as Menu or the great father : 
and, as he is ultimately no other than Buddha, the Lama of Tibet is his 
imagined living representative. 

Doctrines of such a description were not altogether unknown in the west. 
The soul of Osiris was thought successively to animate each living bull Apis ; 
and, even at a comparatively late period, Cleopatra and her brother affected 
to be what the Hindoos would call Avatars of Isis and Dionusus. ' This 
claim of transmigratoiy godhead perfectly accorded with the old theological 
system of Eg\'pt. Diodorus has preserved a curious account of the birth of 
Bacchus, in his character of a descendant from Cadmus. He tells us, that 
Cadmus and his daughter Semele lived at Thebes ia Egypt; that Semel6 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 503. * Asiat. Res. vol. v. p. 292. 

' Pint, in vit. Anton. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 M 



274 THE ORIGIN OK PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

iwoK IV. pioved with child ; and that at the end of seven months she was delivered of 
a son, who hore all the marks which are attributed to Osiris. Cadmus upon 
this, by advice of an oracle, instituteil sacrifices to the new-born god, and 
gave him out to be a manifestation of Osiris among men. ' Siicii a manifes- 
tation is plainly no other than what the Hindoos denominate an Avatar : and 
the story seems to prove not unequivocally, that the ancient Egyptians some- 
times produced a living child and asserted that in liim their favourite divinity 
had become incarnate. 

VII. Deo-Naush then on the top of jNIeru must certainly be the Greek 
Dionus, who was supposed to have been born at Nusa in the region of the 
same mount Meru. But Siva or Ishuren is equally described as the chief 
"od of Meru, where he appears with all the attributes of Dionus. Hence 
it will follow, that, as Deo-Naush and Siva are alike the classical Diunus, 
they must be mutually the same as each other ; though the single hero-deity, 
accordinsi to the common humour of the Hindoos, has been divided into two 
persons : and I strongly suspect, as the characters of the two exactly make 
up that of Bacchus, and as we are told by Arrian that the Indian legend 
respecting that deity perfectly corresponded with the Grecian, that the divi- 
sion in (juestion had not taken place in his days, but that Deo-Naush was 
then a mere title of Siva. 

1. Cicero informs us, that it was specially the Indian Bacchus who was 
called Sabazius or Sabazi, though the name was equally well known in the 
west. * His intelligence was accurate : for, in the Seva, Siva, or Seba, of 
Hindostan, united in composition with the title hi or Isani, we may not 
obscurely recognize the Sabazi of Thrace and Hellas. We may similarly 
trace the nanje of the Egyptian Osiris or Isiris in the Brahmenical Isluiroi 
or Iswara, which is one of the most common appellations of Siva. Now, 
as Osiris was supposed to have penetrated into India no less than Bacchus, 
and as Osiris and Bacchus are confessedly the same god, wc at once recognize 
in Siva or Ishuren both the Greek and the Egyptian deity. Agreeably to this 
identification, the most prominent parts of his history will be found to agree 
with what is related of Bacchus and Osiris ; and they similarly teach us to 
refer the human part of his character to the great transmigrating father. 

' Died. Bibl. lib. i. p. 20, * Ciccr. de nat. deor. lib. iii. c. ?3. 



THE ORrGI>r OF PAGAN- IDOIATRr. 275 

According to the Tamuli of Tranquebar, Maidashuren or tlie great Ishuren chap. iv. 
was born at Nisadabura in the vicinity of mount Meru. He was of a gigan- 
tic stature, had the horns of a bull, and was accustomed to intoxicate himself 
with wine. His attendants were eight demons of the race of those Indian or 
Scythic shepherds, who bore the name of Kobaler : and he rode in a chariot, 
drawn by leopards or lions or tigers. Here, as professor Bayer justly re- 
marks, we have the Nusa and the Meru, where many even of the western 
mythologists supposed Bacchus to have been born : we have the bovine 
horns, and the precise vehicle, of the classical god : we have the same love 
of intoxication, the same attendant Kobali : nothing in short is wanting to 
complete the fable of ancient Greece.' The eight attendants, of whom the 
Tamuli speak, are doubtless the same as the eight great gods of Egypt, and 
as those eight forms of Siva in which, as the Brahmens tell us, the deity 
shines conspicuous on the summit of Meru : while the pastoral Kobali are 
the Indo-Scythic Palli, who proudly called themselves Cai-PalU or Co-PaUi, 
that is, the Illustrious or Royal Shepherds. * 

Equally analogous in other particulars is his character to that of the Greek 
and Egyptian divinity. As Osiris was inclosed within an ark and was the 
navigator of the first ship Argo, and as Bacchus was likewise inclosed within 
an ark and thus comnjitted to the waters of the mighty deep; so did Siva 
float on the surface of the deluge in the mysterious ship Argha. Nor is this 
the only point of resemblance between them. The same indecorous mode of 
symbolizing the great father and the great mother, which prevailed among 
the Greeks and Egyptians, is familiar likewise to the Hindoos. We have 
seen, that the ark of Bacchus or Osiris sometimes contained a figure of 
the deity, and sometimes only an ineffable hieroglyphic of him ; for so the 
symbols, adopted into the diluvian worship, were with reason called by 
the votaries themselves. ' We have moreover seen, that the ancient my- 

• Bayer. Hist. Bactr. p. 2, 3. 

A branch of tlicse, as we shall hereafter see, were flie Philitim, or IIuc-Sos, or Shep- 
herd-kings, of Egypt. Vide infra b. Ti. c. 5. 

The festival, during which the sacred arks were carried in procession, was called Appij- 
rofc^iu, as the author of the Etymologicuui Magnum says, Sia ro appijTa xa< juvrrri^ta, fsoety, 
or, as Suidas informs us, einiSr) roc mifiriTix sy xttrTMs ef tfoy tj Ssm a,i Tta^iyoi, 



276 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. thologists agree in deriving the base superstition, to which I allude, from 
the fabled sufferings of Bacchus and Osiris ; which sufferings are imme- 
diately connected with the deluge. Now we find exactly the same notions 
prevalent among the Hindoos, with respect to their god Siva and his consort 
the ship Argha. They sailed indeed conjointly over the waters of the flood, 
and each of them subsequently assumed the form of a dove : but their spe- 
cial symbols are the generative powers of nature, male and female ; which 
at the period of that eventful voyage, when the whole mundane system was 
dissolved, were reduced, we are told, to their simplest elements.' Other 
hieroglyphics of a less offensive description, which arc conspicuously intro- 
duced into the worship of this eastern divinity, equally serve to identify him 
with Bacchus and Osiris. The sacred bull Nandi, of which Siva is the ri- 
der, is not less famous in Hindoo mythology, than the Apis of Osiris and 
the tauric form of Bacchus are in the recondite lore of Egypt and Greece : 
the serpents of the Dionysiaca yield not, in point of celebrity, to those 
with which Siva is adorned : and, if Bacchus, Adonis, and Osiris, are all 
infernal gods ; Siva, in the character of Yama, is equally the sovereign lord 
of Patala or Hades.' 

Siva is esteemed not only the god of generation, but likewise the avenging 
deity of destruction : and the eastern sages, in a manner not much unlike 
that of Plutarch and Macrobius, have indulged in much refined speculation 
on this contrariety of attributes. It certainly originated from the doctrine of 
a successive destruction and reproduction of worlds : and the diluvian cha- 
racter of Siva clearly points out the manner, in which it ought to be under- 
stood. Noah beheld the ruin of one world, and the production of another 
out of the wreck which was left behind : he was no less the universal father 
of the present race of men, than he was in a subordinate sense the destroyer 
of the first race. Hence, when he was erected into a divinity, he was con- 
sidered at once as the tremendous agent of destruction, and as the prolific 
author of generation.' This pjart of the character of Siva coincides with the 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 523. 

- Moor's Hind. Pamh. p. 3G6. Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 230. 

' To destroy, according to the Vedantu of India, the Sqfis of Persia, and many philosophers 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 377 

fable of Saturn devouring all his children except three, and yet being the «"*•'•>''• 
general father of the hero-gods. The Orphic poet indeed celebrates him, in 
the very spirit of a Hindoo divine, as the god who successively destroyed 
and reproduced all things." 

The number of persons preserved in the Ark was eight : hence, as Siva is 
the god of the ship Argha, the Hindoos have a notion that he multiplied 
himself into eight different forms. They have indeed disfigured this curious 
tradition by the arbitrary refinements of MateriaUsm : but, since the fa- 
vourite abode of the eight forms is the summit of the sacred mountain 
Cailasa or Meru, it is not difficult to perceive, whence the idea originated.* 

a. I cannot find, that Siva is thought by the Hindoos to have died and 
afterwards to have returned to life, as was the case with Osiris, Adonis, and 
Bacchus ; any more than his successive manifestations may be deemed a se- 
ries of deaths and revivals : but, considered as the god of the infernal re- 
gions, he is evidently the same as the Pluto or Hades of the Greeks, the 
Stygian Osiris of the Egyptians, and the Muth or Death of the Pheni- 
cians. In this character, and indeed by the last of these names, he is spo- 
ken of in a very remarkable manner by the Hindoo mythologists. They 
tell us, that the Universe was once incircled by Death eager to devour ; 
and yet that Death himself was an intellectual being, that is to say a Nous 
or a Menu, who sprang from the golden mundane egg.' 

Here Siva, viewed individually and not as one of a triad, identifies him- 
self with Brahma, agreeably to the Indian dogma that the three great gods 
are but a triplication of one and the same great father :* for, as Death, 
or Siva in his character of the infernal destroying power, was born out of 
the golden mundane egg subsequent to his having devoured the whole world ; 
so likewise out of the same egg was produced Brahma, who thence is styled 
the first tnale. His production also succeeded one of the great mundane 

of our European schools, is only to generate and reproduce in another form. Hence ike god of 
destruction is holden in this country to preside over generation. Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 250. 

' Orph. Hymn. xii. 3. * Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 253. vol. viii. p. 369. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 439, 440. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 396, S97. Moors Hind. Panth. p. 13, 33, 7, 44, 277, 294- 
Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 241, 267. 



27§ THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY, 

COOK IV. revolutions : for tlie egg is said to have floated on the waters of the vast 
abyss, whicli always overspread the face of the globe between the destruc- 
tion and reproduction of each two successive worlds, antecedent to its giving 
birth to the inclosed god." The Orphic poet has furnished us with exactly 
the same account of the ancient personage, whom he calls the Jii'st-born, 
whom he describes as bearing the form of a bull, whom he represents as 
driven about at the mercy of tlie winds, whom he makes the universal pa- 
rent both of gods and men, and whom he identifies with Plianes and Pria- 
pus and therefore with Diunusus. This mysterious being, »ho uas twice- 
born and who was long concealed in impenetrable darkness, was produced, 
like Death and Bralima, from an e^g.* 

What we are to understand by this egg, is sufficiently plain. It was a type 
both of the World and of tlie Ark, which itself was esteemed a World in 
miniature But that egg, which floated upon a boundless ocean during the 
period between two successive mundane systems, and from which Brahma 
and Dionusus are equally thought to have been produced by a second birth, 
must be the Ark. The reason is obvio s : Diunusus, who was exposed in 
an ark, has been shewn to be Noah; and Siva, ^^ho floated on the waters 
of the deluge in the ship Argha, has also been shewn to be Noah : but 
Brahuja is only a moditicaiinn of the character of Siva: therefore the birth 
of Brahma from the navicular egg must be the birth of Noah from the ship 
of the flood. Agreeably to this interpretation, we find Brahma likewise re- 
presented as sailing on the niigiity deep in the calix of the lotos ; which, 
with tlie Hindoos as with the Egyptians, is at once a symbol of the World 
and of the ship Argha.' Brahma therefore in the lotos is undoubtedly the 
same as Siva in the ship. Nor is this all : in singular coincidence with the 
theology of Egypt, the lotos is supposed to be the cradle of Brahma, 
in which he floated on the surface of the ocean ; and he himself is 
said to have been born from that flower, no less tlian from the egg.* 
If then the lotos be esteemed a cradle, Brahma himself must be es- 
teemed an infant. But he is also declared to be the Sun. Therefore 

' Instit. of Menu. c. i. * Orph. Hymn. v. 

^ Asiat. Res. >ol .p. 243. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 308. Moor's Hind. Pantli. p. 9. 



THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 279 

the Hindoos, as well as the Egyptians, represent the Sun as an infant sail- ^hap. iv. 
ing over the sea in a lotos. 

Tiie similar allegorical birth of Brahma and Bacchus from an egg, in 
which the former is said to have remained shut up a complete year, 
the time of Noah's confinement within the Ark, is in itself sufficient to shew 
their identity, to say nothing of their each being described as the first-born 
and as the universal parent: hence I think it not improbable, that Bromius 
or Brumius, which was one of the titles of Bacchus, is the same appellation 
as Brahma or Bruluiia, as it is sometimes wiitten. Tiie Broum of tlie pa- 
gan Irish, which is a name of their Ce-Bacche or illustrious Bacchus, ap- 
pears to be another slight variation of Brahma: and, in a similar manner, 
it IS not unreasonable to conjecture, that the appellation of the classical 
Bacchus and the Irish Bacche may be traced in the Sanscrit word Vao-'is or 
Bagis, which is one of the titles of Siva. But the circumstantial evidence 
is what I chiefly wish to dwell upon : such etymologies may be accepted or 
rejected at jileasure without at all affecting the general argument. The 
Hindoo sect of the Vaishnavas or special worshi[)pers of ^'^ishnou say, that 
Bralima was born from a lotos which sprang from the navel of Vishnou 
while sleeping in tlie vast abyss.' This however is a mere variation of the 
genuine legend, which indifteiently exhibits him as being produced from a 
lotos or an egg, and therefore by a necessary consequence from the ship 
Argha which is equally typified by botli those svmbols. 

3. The character of Brahma melts into that of Vislinou, much in the 
same almost insensible manner as Siva identifies himself with Brahma. 

Each of the two gods, whom I have last considered, is thought to have 
floated upon the surface of the ocean ; the one in the ship Aroha, and the 
other in the calix of the lotos which is declared to be a type of the Ar^ha. 
The same striking circumstance occurs also repeatedly in the history of 
Vishnou. He is called Xarayan or the being that moves on the xcaters, 
and he is likewise denominated the first male ; both which titles equally be- 
long to Brahma.^' The reason of his bearing such appellations is clearlv 

' Abiat. IVs. vol. viii. p. o2. Sec Pl.-itc [I. Fig. 1. 
- Asiat. Res. vol. i. p.2t'2. Jnstit. of Menu. c. i. 



280 THE ORtGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

COOK IV. shewn by the mode in which he is represented, and by the fables which are 
told respecting him. Sometimes, as in the great reservoir at Catmandu, he 
appears, fashioned of blue marble, in a recumbent posture on a sort of bed 
or cradle ; which is so placed, as to exhibit the semblance of a boat upborne 
by the literal water which surrounds it. Sometimes, as on a remarkable 
sculptured rock in the Ganges and in various Hindoo paintings, we behold 
him sleeping on the folds of the great sea-serpent Ananta; which, coiled up 
into the precise form of a boat, wafts the deity in safety over the waves of 
the boundless ocean.' Sometimes he lies in a posture of deep meditation, 
with his foot inserted in his mouth so as to shadow out the circle of eternity 
as exemplified in an endless succession of similar worlds, on the naviform 
leaf of the Indian fig-tree ; which similarly floats on the surface of the great 
deep. And sometimes, with his consort Lacshiui, he sleeps secure in his buoy- 
ant paradise of Vaicontha ; which favoured abode and the summit of Meru are 
the only places that remain free from water, while the wholeearth is inundated.' 
If such modes of representing the great father required any explanation, 
we might receive it from the Hindoos themselves. On the death of Brahma, 
we are told, all the worlds are overflowed by a deluge : and Cailasa and Vai- 
contha, or the summit of Meru and a certain floating Paradise, alone re- 
main amidst the universal devastation. At that time Vishnou places himself 
on the leaf of the Banian tree, or (as some say) on that of the lotos or tlie 
betel ; and in this navicular cradle, under the figure of a little child, he floats 
on the sea of milk with the toe of his right foot placed in his mouth. In 
this posture he remains, until Brahma is born again from a lotos which 
springs forth from his navel. Thus it is, that the ages and worlds succeed 
each other, and are perpetually renewed.' Vishnou then or the great father 
is he, who floats in a ship, variously symbolized by a serpent, a leaf, an egg, 
or a lotos, during that period of universal inundation, which is supposed to 
intervene between each two worlds ; in other words he is Noah : but, since 
a deluge equally precedes the old world and the new worjd, and since the 
great father equally floats upon the surface of every deluge, he is not more 

' Sec Plate II. Fig. 1. 

^ Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 26l. Maurice's Hist, of Hind. vol. i. p. 401. Moor's Hiud. I'antb. 
p. 23, 26, 27, 82, 103, 418, 429- plate 7, 8, 20, 75. 
' Moor's Hind. Panth.p. 103, 104. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 281 

Noah than Adam. The sleep of Vishnou is doubtless the same as the <>"*p- 'v- 
death-like repose of Osiris in the ark, and as that rest of Brahma in his 
floating egg or his lotos-cradle, which is sometimes expressly described as 
his death in one world only that he may be born again into another. When 
the great father is supposed to die, then the Ark is his coffin : when he ex- 
periences a second birth, the Ark is his mother : when, in consequence of 
tliat birth, he is esteemed an infant, the Ark is his cradle : when he sleeps 
in deep repose until he awakes into a new world, the Ark serves him for a 
couch or a bed : when he is venerated as the universal parent both of gods 
and men, the Ark is his consort. 

The account, which the Hindoos give us of Vishnou-Narayan, is imme- 
diately connected with chaos and darkness : and, as is commonly the case in 
ancient mythology which was specially built on the doctrine of a succession 
of similar mundane systems, the primeval state of the world at the period 
which we deem that of its creation, and its disorganized condition during 
the prevalence of the deluge, are intimately blended together. They re- 
present him moving, as his name implies, on the waters, in the character of 
the first male and the principle of all nature ; which was wholly surrounded 
in the beginning by Tamas or darkness, the Chaos and primordial night of 
the Greek mythologists, the Thammuz of Scripture, and the Thaumaz or 
Thamas of the old Egyptians.' This name Tamas, under all its various 
modifications, may probably be deduced from Theom or Thaum, which, in 
the language of the Hebrews and the Babylonians, denotes the great abyss 
of dark waters. It is equally a title of Adonis and Buddha : and it is borne 
by them exactly in the same sense, as the ocean is deemed a form of Is- 
wara, as Osiris no less than his adversary Typhon is sometimes identified 
with the sea, as Janus is said to be the same as Chaos, as the sea is cfdled 
the tears of Saturti, and as Saturn himself is esteemed the element of 
water.^ 

4. In the Avatar of Crishna, the fabled suff'erings and ultimate triumph 
of Vishnou are precisely those of the Egyptian Horus and the Greek Apollo. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 126. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 255. Plut. dc Isid. p. 364. Ovid. Fast. lib. i. ver. 103. Clem. Alex. 
Strom, lib. v. p. 571- SiiUust. dediis et muiul. c. iv. Macrob. iii somn. Scip. lib. i; c. 11. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. aN 



282 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRT. 

BOOK IV. jjg ^pgg \fQj-n an infant ; but his birth was concealed through fear of the 
tyrant Cansa, to whom it had been predicted that a child born at that time 
would destroy him. He was fostered therefore in Mathura by a herdsman 
and his wife : and he spent his youth in sporting with nine rural damsels of 
extraordinary beauty, in playing upon his flute, and in dancing away the 
aaily revolving hours. When conveyed from the fury of Cansa, he was 
borne over the sacred river Yamuna in a navicular cradle or Argha, the 
(Treat serpent Calya following him with inveterate malice : but he afterwards 
fought and slew the monster in the midst of the waters, notwithstanding the 
intercession of the sea-nymphs in his behalf; and, at a more advanced age, 
he put to death his cruel enemy Cansa. During the period that he was sub- 
ject to this persecution, he is said to have hid himself in the Moon ; and 
he is also fabled, with three companions and all his flocks and herds, to have 
taken refuge in the womb of a vast serpent which he created for the pur- 
pose.' Me rescued the children of his preceptor from an inundation of the 
sea, which had carried them down to the infernal dominions of Yama: he 
supported a mountain upon his finger during the prevalence of a deluge : and 
he appears as the tutelary genius of an Argha, which equally bore him away 
from the rage of his enemy and is thought to have been filled with all kinds 
of animals.* 

In this legend it is easy to perceive, that Crishna's escape in the Argha 
from Cansa and Calya is the same as that of Apollo and Horus in the floating 
island from the serpent Python or Typhon ; that the river Yamuna occupies 
the place of the Egean sea and the sacred lake near Buto ; and that the 
final victory of Crishna is no other than the parallel final victory of the Greek 
and Egyptian deities. The outline in short of all the three fables is this. 
The great father is exhibited as an infant, in allusion to the mystic birth of 
Noah from the Ark. A monster, which the Egyptians plainly tell us is the 
ocean, which the Greeks ascribe to the epoch of the deluge, and which the 
Hindoos represent as being slain in the midst of the waters, seeks his life. 
For a season he is constrained to hide himself from his enemy : and this he 

' See Plate II. Fig. 5. 

* Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 197, 199, 201, 202, 213, 280, 287, 394. plates 38, 59, 6l, 62, 
64. Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 259—262. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 283 

does, either in the ship Argha which serves him for a cradle, or in a floating "*^'' '^* 
island, or in the Moon, or in a large serpent which he constructed for that 
purpose. Here he spends his time in the midst of flocks and herds, which 
are inclosed along with him in the same machine ; and remains safe under 
the care of an ancient shepherd, who is the same person as himself viewed 
under a different aspect, just as Osiris ultimately identifies himself with the 
infant Horus. But at length he prevails over his inveterate enemy; and, 
either in the midst of the great waters or in the slime left by the retiring de-^ 
luge, effects his total destruction. ' 

5. Thus it appears, that the great gods of Hindostan, when viewed seve- 
rally, are mutually the same as each other, and that they are all equally the 
universal father: but, when viewed conjointly, they exhibit a somewhat 
different aspect. They then constitute a triad emanating from a fourth yet 
older divinity ; who, by a mysterious act of self-triplication, becomes three 
while yet he remains but one, each member of the triad being ultimately re- 
solvable into the monad. Whfit we are to understand by this phraseology, 
which has most unhappily been thought to have originated from some tradi- 
tional knowledge of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, is best ascertained by 
the declarations of the Hindoos themselves and by the legendary histories of 
their three great gods. 

Their doctrine is, that, at the commencement of every new mundane 
system, Brahm and the three subordinate divinities, appear on earth, under 
a human form, in the persons of Menu and his three sons ; that this transmi- 
gration regularly takes place at certain great intervals ; that, at the end of 
every revolving period, the world and all its inhabitants are destroyed by a 
flood of water ; that the universal father, comprehending within himself a 

' Since the knowledge of Christianity has been diffused over Asia, the legend of Crishna has 
been interpolated by the Brahmens with various circumstances taken from the gospels, so that 
the whole exhibits a tolerably accurate account of the escape of Jesus from Herod : but the 
more simple narrative, which is here given, enables us easily to distinguish between what is 
spuriousand what is genuine. This narrative existed long anterior to the birth of Christ, and 
probably to the time of Homer; nor have I the least doubt of its identity, previous to its adul- 
teration, with the Greek and Egyptian fables of Apollo and Horus. Every particular in it 
palpably refers us to the era of the deluge. See Sir W. Jones's Dissert, in Asiat. Res. vol. i. 
p. 273. 



284 THE' ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 

BOOK IV. tpjad and existing in eight forms, then alone remains, floating in a state of 
deep meditation or death-like sleep on the boundless ocean; and that, when 
the deluge retires and a new world emerges from beneath the waves, he 
awakes from his slumber, and manifests himself as the Menu of the renovated 
systenij the father first of three sons and afterwards through them of the 
whole human race. 

One might think, that so plain an account as this could scarcely be misap- 
prehended. The evident purport of it is, that the triplicated god of Hin- 
dostan is Noah at the head of his three sons viewed as the parent of the 
present generation of men, and Adam similarly at the head of his three sons 
viewed as the parent of the antediluvian race of mortals. Of these, the for- 
mer monad and triad is deemed a transmigratory reappearance of the latter 
monad and triad : and, as the succession of worlds is fancifully maintained 
to be endless, because one world has really been succeeded by another ; the 
same monad and triad is exhibited, and the same events occur, at the com- 
mencement of each new system. 

Such is the doctrine of the Hindoos ; which, so far as I can judge, contains 
not the slightest allusion to tlie scriptural doctrine of the Trinity, but which 
wholly relates to a succession of mere human triads each springing from a 
yet anterior monad : and with their doctrine the history of their triplicated 
god will be found exactly to correspond. When viewed as the three sons of 
Noah or Menu-Satyavrata, who (we are literally told) was preserved with 
seven companions in an ark at ihe time of the general deluge, Brahma, 
Vishnou, and Siva, are declared to be Shama, Cliama, and Pra-Japati ; 
and are each severally represented,- as having floated on tiie surface of the 
waters, either in a ship, or in certain vehicles which are positively asserted 
to be symbols of that ship. But, when viewed as the three sons of Adam or 
Adima or Menu-Swayambhuva, the same three deities appear at the com- 
mencement of the antediluvian world with every characteristic of Abel, Cain, 
and Seth. One of them murders his brother at a solemn sacrifice, and is 
doomed to be a wanderer upon the face of the earth. In consequence of this 
event, the first race of men is described as springing only from two brethren ; 
the third, although fabled to be half restored to life, being so debilitated as 
to be incapable of producing children, until he appears again in renovated 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 285 

vigour at the beginning of the present mundane system. On the whole, *^"*^* "^• 
nothin" can well be less ambiguous than the origination of the Brahmenical 
triad : and I cannot hut lament, that learned and ingenious men should have 
advocated the groundless conceit of its having sprung from a corrupted 
primeval tradition of the Holy Trinity. 

VIII. The Hindoo triad of Brahma, Vishnou, and Siva, is, I am per- 
suaded, fundamentally the same as the classical triad of Jupiter, Neptune, 
and Pluto. I mean not to say, that every person of the one can be perfectly 
identified with a corresponding person of the other, so that each shall distinctly 
answer to each : but the three classical gods melt into one another just in the 
same manner as the three Hindoo deities ; and, notwithstanding some va- 
rieties, the general resemblance beUveen the two triads is such, as to vvarrant 
the belief of their having originated from a common source. 

Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, when viewed conjointly as the three sons of 
Saturn ; and Brahma, Vishnou, and Siva, when viewed conjointly as the 
three emanations from Brahm or as the three sons of Menu ; are certainly 
the triple offspring of the great transmigrating universal father of gods and 
men, by whom the Gentiles meant Adam reappearing in the person of Noah. 
Yet, by a species of genealogical confusion which pervades the whole of 
ancient mythology, the three are deemed mutually the same both with each 
other and with the parent from whom they sprang ; for, as the whole human 
race may be resolved genethliacally into the triad, so the triad ultimately re- 
solves itself into the monad whence all mankind derived their common origin. 
In this point of view therefore, the three, when beheld separately, are alike 
the great father; and, as such, are considered as being essentially but one 
character, acting as it were in the three different capacities of the renovator, 
the preserver, and the destroyer, of the eternally mutable Universe. The 
ancient pagan sages delighted to express themselves mysteriously, and thus 
to throw a shade of awful obscurity over the simplest matters. Instead of 
merely saying that their principal hero-god was the father of three sons, they 
were wont to speak of him as a being who had wonderfully triplicated himself. 
Thus triplicated, he had three forms ; which yet were esteemed, as being 
fundamentally but one deity. Hence wc sometimes have an account of only 
a single god springing from the egg, which during the space of a year was 



285 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK IV. tempest-tossed on the surface of the ocean : while, at other times, we are 
told of three gods being born out of the same egg. In the midst however of 
this studied darkness, the truth is still sufficiently apparent : for the veil of 
mystery is occasionally dropt ; and we are explicitly told by the interpreting 
hierophant, that the self-triplicating deity means only the primeval ancestor 
of all mankind, who at the commencement of every world is always the 
father of three sons. The Hindoos have retained both the mystical and the 
literal mode of expression : the Greeks, discarding the former, have used 
only the latter. Hence we hear nothing of any self-triplication of Saturn : 
we are simply told, that he was the father of three sons, among whom he 
divided the whole world. This circumstance is highly useful in leading us to 
a right understanding of the Hindoo triad : for, as the three classical gods 
are certainly the same as the three Hindoo gods, the mysterious self-tripli- 
cation of Brahm is nothing more at the bottom than the birth of three sons 
from Saturn. And accordingly the Brahmenical divines themselves tell us, 
that the self-triplicating Brahm is really no other than Menu viewed as the 
parent of a triple offspring, from whom after every deluge all mankind are 
descended. 

1. The character of Jupiter is evidently not that of a single individual : 
but a more ancient and a less ancient god of that name is spoken of, just as 
we meet with a more ancient and a less ancient Menu or Buddha. This 
arose from the universally prevalent doctrine of transmigratory reappearances : 
and I think it clear, that Jupiter, when thus considered, is at once the great 
father who is manifested at the commencement of every world, and a member 
of that triad of sons which is successively born from him. As the former, he 
is Adam reviving in the person of Noah : as the latter, he is apparently the 
same as Ham ; for he was worshipped by the Egyptians, themselves of the 
line of that patriarch, under the appellation of Hamnion, and Avas thought to 
have mutilated his father Saturn after first intoxicating him with honey- 
mead. ' The most ancient Jupiter is mentioned by Diodorus, as anterior to 
the other in time, though surpassed by him in point of celebrity : and he is 
the same person as Cronus or Saturn ; who is himself said to have been de- 
throned, and whose glory was eclipsed by his oftspring the younger or Ham-' 

' Orph, apud Porph. de ant. nyraph. p. Sfiip. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 287 

monian Jupiter. Probably the fiction arose from the retired and devotional chap. iv. 
jhabits of Noah, and from the more enterprizing temper of his son Ham and 
his descendants, particularly those of the line of Cush : when Ham, in the 
veneration of his posterity, usurped as it were the regal honours of his parent. 
To this, if I mistake not, the old Chaldean oracles refer, when they speak, 
agreeably to the notions respecting a mortal demiurge, of the great father 
having created all things, and of having afterwards given them to the second 
Nous whom the tribes of men agree to venerate as the first. ' The elder 
Nous, by whom the world was reproduced after the deluge, is he ; who was 
said to be the parent of tluee younger Noes, who with them was born from a 
floating egg, and who is declared to be the same as the arkite Dio-Nus or 
Jupiter or Cronus : and the second Nous, to whom he resigned his sceptre, 
is that younger Jove or Hammon, who is similarly represented as acquirino- 
the sovereignty of his father. 

(1.) Diodorus informs us, that the first Jupiter was the king of the whole 
world, though the Cretans pretended that their island was peculiarly the 
place of his residence. He was the brother of Uranus and the husband of 
Id^a ; by whom he was the father of the Curetes, the Id^i Dactyli, or tlie 
Cabiri. He bestowed the name of his wife upon his favourite island, Avhich 
from her he called Idea : and the same appellation, with a slight variety, 
was applied to the sacred mountain of Crete. Diodorus adds, that he died 
in Crete, and that the ruins of his sepulchre might still be traced.* 

It is evident, that that part of the legend, which fixes this universal mun- 
dane sovereign in Crete, is a mere local appropriation. Crete was one of the 
many sacred islands : and the religion of its inhabitants, originating at Babel, 
was that, which was carried to every quarter of the globe by them of the 
dispersion. . When a branch of these colonists fixed themselves in Crete, 
though they were conscious that the god whom they worshipped had really 
been the king of the whole world, yet they made that island the peculiar seat 
of their great father and of his consort the great Idtan mother, just as their 
brethren in all other parts of the earth similarly localized the same deities. 
The Cretan Id^a is the Phrygian Idfea, for such was the name of Cybel^ 

' Oiac. Zoroast. Fr. Patric. § Pater et Mens. ^ Diod. Bibl. lib. iii. p. 104. 



£88 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. no less than of this fabled consort of Jupiter; just as the Cretan mount Ida 
and the Phrygian mount Ida have received a common appellation from the 
prevalence of the same theological notions. Both the goddess and the 
mountain of these two countries, as well as the sacred mount Ida of Gothic 
or Scythic superstition, may be traced to the Ida or Ila and the Ida-Vratta 
or Ila-Vratta of the Hindoos and the Buddhic Chasas. The goddess was 
the Ark : and the mountain was a copy of Ararat ; w here the Ark rested, 
and where in consequence the great father and moiher were fabled to have 
been born or exposed or educated. Hence originated the stories of Jupiter 
having been once a boy, and of his having been nursed in the sacred Dictfean 
cave of mount Ida. ' The birth of Noah from the Ark necessarily caused 
him to be viewed in the light of a child : and a cave represented the World 
and thence the Ark ; on which account the diluvian god was often thought to 
have been born out of a cave or a rock, and the imitative aspirants in the 
Mysteries were deemed to experience a new birth by issuing forth from the 
door either of a stone cell or of a rocky grotto temple.^ 

The pretended nurses of Jupiter have all a similar respect to the deluge, 
more or less obvious as being more or less literal or symbolical. Sometimes, 
after his birth from Rhea or the great mother in the Dict^an cave, he is said 
to have been consigned to the care of the Curetes and the nymphs Adrastca 
and Ida, the daughters of the Melissae ; and sometimes he is described as 
having been nourished by bees. ' Tliis originated from the circumstance of 
the arkite priestesses being called bees : for a hive was one of the many sa- 
cred symbols of the mundane Ship, and bees were thought to represent the 
new-born souls in the Mysteries. The great mother herself was styled a bet : 
and, in the Greek, the name of that animal is borrowed from Melissa or 
Melitta the generative Venus of the Babylonian CuthiteS; who was the same 
as Ida or Ila.* At other times, he was reported to have been nursed by a 
sow, a she-goat, or she-bears : ' because all those animals, like the cow, the 

' Cic'jr. de div. lib. ii. Giuter. Inscrip. Ixxvi. n. 6, 7. 

* The subject of the mystic cave vfill be discussed hereafter at large, book v. c. 7. J I- 2. 

* Apollod. Bibl. lib. i. c. 1. § 3. Virg. Georg. lib. iv. ver. 149. Lactan. Instit. lib. i. c. 22. 

* Porph. de ant. nymph, p. 26 1, 262. 

' Agathoc. apud Athen. Deipnos. lib. ix. p. 375. Arat. Phaenom. p. 8, 23. Died. Bibl. 
lib. V. p. 337. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 289 

mare, and the ceto, were employed to typify the Ark. So likewise, in allu- '^"^^^^^^ 
sion to the Noetic dove and to the priestesses who from it took the name of 
doves, he is further said to have received his infant nourishment from birds of 
that species, which carried ambrosia to the sacred Cretan grotto from the 
mighty streams of the ocean. ' We find a reference to this curious fable in ^ 
the Odyssey : and the scholiast remarkably and justly connects it with the 
voyage of the Argo. He tells us, that the doves, when employed in carrying 
ambrosia to Jove, flew between the tremendous Symplegades; through which 
the Argo was barely navigated in safety, and which had previously lopped 
the tail of a dove that had been sent out of the ship by way of experiment.* ' 
Nor is this the only fable, in which we find doves introduced into the mythic 
history of Jupiter. In prosecuting an amour with Phthia he is said to have 
changed himself into a dove, just as the Hindoo Siva and his consort Argha 
assume the form of doves when the waters of the deluge begin to abate.' » 
As for the tomb of Jupiter, it was an edifice of the same nature, as the 
tombs of Buddha, Argus, Osiris, and other cognate deities. Like the 
pyramids of Egypt which were similarly esteemed sepulchres, and like the 
raontiform pagodas of Buddha within which he is feigned to be buried, it was 
an arkite temple ; where Mysteries of a funereal description, such as the 
rites of Baal-Peor and Osiris, were wont in old times to be celebrated. 
That the edifice really existed and was shewn by the Cretans as a tomb, is 
certain, both from the testimony of Diodorus, and from that of Callimachus, 
Cicero, and Julius Firmicus, not to mention other writers :* and, that I have 
pointed out the real sense in which it was called a tomb, may, I think, be 
not unequivocally collected from what the last-mentioned author says of the 
tomb of Osiris. He intimates, that the mournful Orgies of that deity, in 
M'hich his death by the hand of Typhon was annually lamented, were cele- 
brated at his tomb which was still to be seen in Egypt.' Now, since the 

' Moero apud Athen. Deipnos. lib. xi. p. 491. 
^ Horn. Odyss. lib. xii.ver. 63. Schol. in loc. 
' Athen. Deipnos. lib. ix. p. 395. 

* Callim. Hymn, in Jov. i. ver. 8. Cicer. de nat.deor. lib. iii. c. 21. Jul. Firm, de error, 
prof. rel. p. 19. 

' Jul. Firm. p. 4, 5. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 20 



BOOK IV, 



290 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

rites of Osiris were thus connected with his tomh, and since those rites clearly 
related to the deluge, the reason why the tomb was so called must be col- 
lected from the nature of the rites : and, since the tomb of Obiris was thus 
connected with the diluvian Mysteries, and since the theology of Crete and 
Egypt was fundamentally the same, it seems necessarily to follow from ana- 
logy that the tomb of Jupiter must be understood in the same manner. 
Jupiter in fact was no other person than Adonis and Osiris ; and the tomb in 
Crete was but a repetition of that in Egypt and Phenicia. Accordingly we 
find, that at Argos the supposed death of Adonis was bewailed by the women 
in the temple of Jupiter the Preserver ; so called, I apprehend, from the 
wonderful preservation of the Noetic family in the Ark.' 

(2.) Though Jupiter is thus fabled to have been born and to have reigned 
in Crete, he was equally the local god of many other countries : and we may- 
observe some curious traces of a close intercommunion among his worshippers,- 

The Cretans, as we have just seen, claimed Jupiter to themselves : and 
they had a city in their island called Arcades. * The Arcadians also put in 
their claim to Jupiter : and they had a district in their country denominated 
Cretea, through M'hich flowed the river of Nous or Noah, where they assert- 
ed the god to have been born and not in the island of Crete. ' The Egyptians 
equally laid claim to Jupiter, who was in reality the same as Osiris, making 
him one of their ancient kings : and they had a city, to which they gave the 
n^xiiQ oi Arcadia.* So likewise, in reference to the agricultural character of 
Noah, the Phenicians had their agricultural Jupiter who was the same as 
Dagon or Cronus or II us : and we find in mount Lebanon a city called Area, 
whence Astartfe or the Phenician Venus, who was adored in conjunction with 
Thammuz or Adonis, received the title of Architis ; we also find in the same 
country a race of Crethim or Cretans (as the Seventy well express the name), 

' Paus. Corinth, p. 121. The subject of tomb-worship will be resumed hereafter, b. v. c. 7- 
§ III. 

'^ Steph. Byzant. de urb. p. \66. 

^ Paus. Arcad. p. 517, 518. This river Nous was one of the many sacred western streams, 
all of which, according to the Hindoos, received their names from the god Deo-Naush. 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 12. Steph. Byzant. de urb. p. 167. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 391 

who with their brethren the Pelethim or Palli submitted to the rule of the ^hap. iv. 
Israelites. ' 

Some writers adopt, as a literal historical matter of fact, the account of 
Jupiter being an ancient sovereign of Crete : but this seems to me aliite con- 
trary to reason and evidence. It is incredible, that a petty Cretan prince 
should at the same time be king of the whole world, and that he should be 
venerated as the chief of gods in so many different countries : for it is well 
known, that he was claimed as a local deity, not only by the Cretans, but by 
the inhabitants of all those different regions where he was worshipped. To 
say nothing of Arcadia, Egypt, and Pheuicia, which I have just mentioned, ' 

Pausanias informs us, that it would be almost impossible to enumerate every 
nation, which pretended that Jupiter was born within its particular territory. * 
Why then should the claim of the Cretans ; the Cretans ever liars, as Cal- 
limachus calls them when speaking of this very claim urged from the exhibi- 
tion of the pretended tomb of the god-king : why should the claim of the 
Cretans be specially allowed to the exclusion of the parallel claim of almost 
every other people?' 

The truth of the matter was this : wherever the arkite priests and nobility 
with their idolatrous adherents were scattered from the tower of Babel, or 
wherever they might migrate in subsequent ages, they carried along with 
them traditions of the polyonymous great father, the ship Argo or Theba, 
the mountain Ida or Meru, the Titans and Typhon, the sacred dove and the 
deluge. These, though they equally concerned all mankind, the vanity of 
each people, apparently warranted by local commemorative ordinances, con- 
stantly appropriated to their own country. Agreeably to such an opinion, 
Jupiter was both thought to have been king of the whole world, though the 
Cretans pretended that he fixed his seat of empire in their island ; and was 
likewise supposed to have travelled over every part of the earth, destroying 
robbers and giants, and establishing just and equal laws.* In this particular 

' Sanchon.apiut Euscb.Pia^p. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. Joseph. Ant. Jud. lib. v. c. 1. Joseph, 
de bell. Jud. lib. vii. c. 21. Bochart. Chanaan. lib. i. c. 15. p. 422. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i, 
C. 21. 

* Paus. IMessen. p. 278. ^ Callim. Hymn, in Jov. i. ver. 8. 

♦ Diod. Bibl. lib. iii. p. 194. lib. v. p. 338. 



'292. THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN TDOLATRV. 

BOOK IT. he coincides with Hercules, Deo-Naush, Bacchus, Osiris, and Buddha : 
nor is it without reason that he does so ; for these various deities, under 
whatever superstition they may be arranged, are all equally and fundamentally 
the same primeval universal sovereign, who reappearing after the flood became 
the common parent of the second race of mankind, 

(3.) Considered then as Noah, we find Jupiter both esteemed the father 
of the three most ancient Cabiri, and himself also reckoned the first of the two 
primitive Cabiri, Bacchus being associated with him as the younger.' This 
however is a mere reduplication, for Jupiter and Bacchus are the same per- 
son : and they seem to have been joined together in the Samotiiracian Orgies, 
much in the same manner as Osiris and Horus are connected in the Mysteries 
of Isis. Hence Jupiter bore the title of Sabazius as well as Bacchus : a 
word, not derived from the Hebrew Sabaoth as some have imagined, but 
from Siva or Seba which is a name of the Indian Iswara. * 

That such is the real origin of the word, as I have already had occasion to 
intimate, appears to me sufficiently evident from the manner in which it may 
be traced to Greece. Cicero tells us, that the Sabazian Bacchus was a kins 
of Asia; by which was meant the large tract of country that the ancients 
called India or Indian Ethiopia, for the Asiatic Bacchus was doubtless the 
far-famed Indian Deo-Naush.' But, if Bacchus-Sabazius were an Indian 
deity, then his foreign title Sabazius must be sought for among the Hindoos, 
not surely among the Israelites. And, in this case, since the god Bacchus- 
Sabazius is clearly the same as the god Bagis-Siva, I see not how we can 
well avoid concluding, that the names Bacchus and Sabazius are respectively 
the names Bagis and Siva. The very same appellation was in use among 
the Thracians, from whom the Greeks borrowed a large part of their theo- 
logy : for Macrobius tells us, that they venerated Bacchus under the name 

' Schol. in A poll. Argon, lib. i. vcr. 917. 

* Valer. Maxim, lib. i.e. 3. Diod. Bibl. lib. iv. p. 212. Orph. Hymn, xlvii. Etym. Magn. 
2a/3a?ioj. The opinion, that Sabazius is derived from thu Hebrew Sabaoth, appears to have 
srisen, partly from the similarity of the words, and partly from the circumstance of the 
Rabbins and some of the early heretics bestowing the name of Sabaoth upon an eastern demon- 
god. What they hebraized into Sabaoth was, I believe, no other than the Indian Seba. 

' Cicer. de nat. door. lib. iii. c. 23. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 293 

ofSebadius; and all writers agree, that the words Sabazius, Sabizo, and chap.it. 
Saboi, are of barbaric origin.' Now the Thracians were a branch of the 
Scuths ; whose grand settlement was on the northern frontier of India, who 
are tliere known by the denomination of Chasas or Chusas or Lido-Scythce, 
and who thence spread themselves into many different regions of the earth. 
But, if the Greeks received the name Sabazius from the Thracians, since 
they brought it from India into Europe, the word must obviously be of In- 
dian extraction. 

As Jupiter and Bacchus each bore the title of Sabazius ; so there was a tra- 
dition, that each of them was preserved by Thetis from the rage of his inve- 
terate enemy.* By Thetis, the goddess of the ocean, was meant tlie Ark : 
for Thetis was the same as Venus, Isis, Astart^, Derceto, Theba, or A'rgha. 

(4.) Perhaps it is scarcely necessary to point out the coincidence between 
the taurine form under which Jupiter is feigned to have carried off Europa, 
and the white bull of Siva : because that animal was the symbol of the I'reat 
fkther in every part of the globe; and therefore, although the coincidence 
may serve to prove the identity of Jupiter and Siva, it does not peculiarly 
prove it, inasmuch as it equally proves the ultimate and fundamental identity 
of Jupiter, Siva, Bacchus, Osiris, Molech, Baal, Mithras, and Hu. But 
there is another point, which must by no means be omitted : since, from its 
arbitrary nature, it is curiously decisive of the matter now under considera- 
tion ; and likewise serves to shew, that the three persons of the classical triad 
melt into each other just in the same manner as the three persons of the 
Hindoo triad. The god Siva is represented with three eyes; doubtless, I 
think, from the circumstance of his virtually containing within himself the 
essence of the triple Indian divinity, whose three persons imperceptibly (as it 
were) are blended in one. ' Now there was a very ancient Jupiter, called 
the native Jupiter of the Trojans; who, according to Pausanias, was 
similarly depicted with three eyes : whence he bore the title of Triophthalmus, 
as Siva is for the same reason denominated Trilochan. 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. Etym. Magn. 2a/3a?iOf. Hesych. Lex. Sa^a^sic, lafia- 
tfog. 8uid. Lex. 2a/3a?iof. 

* Horn. Iliad, lib. i. ver. 394. Phurn. de nat. deor. c. 17- Heraclid. Pont. Alleg. Horn. 
p. 437, 458. Nonni Dionys. lib. xx. 

' Asiat. Kes. vol. i. p. 248. 



2y4 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. Ti^e cause, assigned by the Greek writer for this mode of representation, 
is highly worthy of notice ; and it certainly appears to be the true one. He 
says, that three eyes were assigned to Jupiter on the following account. All 
men agree, that Jupiter reigns in heaven : but he also reigns in Hades, and 
is therefore the same as Pluto ; whence Homer speaks of the infernal Jupi- 
" ter, whom he connects with Proserpine : he moreover reigns in the sea, and 
is therefore the same as Neptune; whence Eschylus the son of Euphorion 
calls the god who presides over the ocean by the name of Jupiter. Such 
being the case, says Pausanias, the artist gave three eyes to the deity, by 
way of shewing, that it is one and the same person, who is alike supreme in 
those three great divisions of the world. ' 

In this conjecture, I have no doubt that he is right; because the fact on 
which it is built, namely that Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto, melt into each other, 
like Brahma, Vishnou, and Siva, is clear and indisputable. The conjecture 
also perfectly corresponds with the mode of symbolizing used by the Egyp- 
tians. They were wont, as we are told by Plutarch, to represent Osiris, 
the sovereign lord of the world, under the hieroglyphic of an eye and a 
sceptre.' Hence, when the world was divided into three parts, and when 
the great father was thought to have multiplied himself into three sons who 
were yet esteemed only variations of one primeval Nous, the obvious mode 
of representing the triplicated deity would be by the image of a sceptred 
prince having three eyes. Agreeably to this mystic theocrasy, Pluto is called 
the infernal Jupiter, and Jupiter himself is identified with Hades : and 
again, while Jupiter is declared to be the primeval Nous, who (according to 
the Platonic and Orphic theology) produced from himself three younger 
Noes; he is yet represented, as presiding over the sea in the character of 
Neptune. ' 

2. From the figurative mode, adopted in the Mysteries, of describing 
tlie entrance of Noah into the Ark, and his subsequent egress to tlie Jiglit of 
heaven, the chief deity of the Gentiles, as I have often had occasion to 

» Paus. Corinth, p. 129. 

* Plut. dc Isid. p. 354. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 21. 

' Orph. Hymn. xvii. Orph. Fragm. apud Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 18. Ma.\. Tyr. 
Ptssert. xxix.]p.290. Cicer. de nat. deor. lib. iii. c. 25. August, de civ. Dei. lib. iv. c. 1 1, 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 295 

observe, was either esteemed an infernal god, or was thought to have de- 
scended into Hades and afterwards to have returned from it. Hence we 
may conclude, that Pluto, or the Stygian Jupiter, is the great father while 
mystically dead, or, in plain terms, while concealed within the ship of the 
deluge ; and that the celestial Jupiter is the same person, when he returns 
to light and life by quitting the place of his dark temporary confinement, 
which the hierophant was wont to style bis floating coffii^. With this sup- 
position the whole character of Pluto will be found to agree. 

(1.) The Cabiric gods, whose number is variously represented according to 
the various lights in which they were viewed, are certainly the diluvian fa- 
mily, sometimes including and sometimes excluding the Ark itself. This 
sufficiently appears from the whole of their fabulous history. Now the Ca- 
biri of Samothrace are said by Mnaseas to have been called Axieros, Axio- 
cersa, and Axiocersus ; and he severally identifies them with Ceres, Pro- 
serpine, and Pluto. To these he adds a fourth, whom he makes the mi- 
nister or officiating priest of the other three ; and applies to him the appella- 
tion of Casmilus, which is equivalent to the infernal jMercury.^ Pluto 
therefore, being a Cabiric god, must as such be also a diluvian god. 

He is exhibited in the very same character by the mythologists of Hin- 
dostan : for I hesitate not to identify the classical Pluto with the Indian 
Yama or infernal Siva. We are told, that in Patala or Hades resides the 
sovereign queen of the serpents, by name Asyoriica. To Samudr or the 
Ocean she bore a daughter, called Asyotcersha or Asyotcrishta ; who is 
beautiful as the day, but who like a jewel remains concealed in the sea. 
With these are associated Dharma-Rajah or the king of justice and his ser- 
vant Carmala or Cashmala. The former is the sovereign of the Pitris or 
seven patriarchal spirits, and the prince of the infernal regions. He is also 
called Atcersa, which is a word of the same import as Asyotcersa : and he 
holds a court of justice, with certain kings for his assessors, to determine 
the fate of the departed.^ 

Here avc have obviously the prototypes of the Samothracian Cabiri, as 

' Mnas. apud Schol. in ApoU. Argon, lib. i. ver. 917. 
"^ Asiat. Res. vol. v. p. 297—299. 



CHAF. ir. 



2Q6 the origin of pagan IDOLATay. 

BOOK IV. enumerated by Mnaseas : for Axieros or Ceres is Asyoruca or Asyorus : 
Axiocersa or Proserpine is Asyotcersha the daughter of Asyoruca ; 
Axiocersus or Pluto is Atcersa or Asyotcersa ; and the ministering Casmilus 
or infernal Mercury is Carmala or Cashmala. The classical Pluto then is 
the Hindoo Dharma- Rajah : but Dharma-Rajah, the Sydi/k of Sanchoniatho 
and the just man of Moses, who is described as the sovereign of the seven 
Pitris or Rishis, is palpably the same as Buddha or Menu, considered in his 
character of the god of obsequies; for the identical seven personages, who 
are the associates of the one, were the companions of the other when he was 
preserved in the Ark : Pluto therefore, as an infernal god, is in fact on that 
very account an arkite god. 

Such being his character, we can entertain little doubt respecting the cha- 
racters of his two female companions. The mother and the daughter, like 
Ceres and Proserpine, are one reduplicated person : and it is plainly enough 
intimated to us, who that person is. The mother is the queen of Patala or 
Hades : but the Hades of the ancient Mysteries was conjointly the interior 
of the Ark and of the Earth ; whence the primeval character preserved in 
the Ark is made an infernal god, the judge of the dead, and (in the mytho- 
logies both of Greece and Egypt and Hindostan) the ferrier of the souls of 
the defunct over the sacred lake of hell in the ship Argha or Baris. So 
again : the daughter is made the offspring of the Ocean, and is said to have 
lain concealed like a jewel in the sea. This can only correspond with the 
mixed character of that goddess, who is a personification at once of the 
Earth and of the Ark : but any doubt on that point is removed by the de- 
claration, that Asyotcersha is Rama-Devi or Lacshmi. Now Lacshmi, the 
consort of Vishnou, is one of the tliree forms of the triple Devi or Isi : and, 
as the three jointly constitute but one goddess, she is in fact the same as 
Parvati or Sita, who floated on the deluge in the form of the Argha and af- 
terwards changed herself into a dove. She therefore, who lay concealed iii 
the ocean and who is evidently the Cabiric Proserpine of Samolhrace, is 
no other than the ship Argha or the mundane Ark ; while Dharma-Rajah 
is Menu, or Noah, or the god of the Ark. 

Hence, in classical mythology, Pluto, as the great father, is feigned to be 
the husband of Proserpine : and, since the astronomical symbol of the Ark 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. QQT 

was the lunar crescent, Proserpine or Axiocersa, notwithstanding she is ♦^"*''- '*'• 
said to have lain concealed in the ocean and to have sailed over the deluge 
as the ship Argha, is yet pronounced to be the same as Libera and the 
Moon. This circumstance, when connected with the fable of Pluto's rape 
of Proserpine, led Julius Firmicus to ridicule the mythology of the pagans 
by asking : IF/io ever ravished the Moon? Who at any time coficealed her ? 
Who ever made her the wife of' the god of hell? ' Such questions were not 
unnaturally put by one, who supposed the literal Moon to be intended: but 
what the initiated meant was that primeval ship, of which the boat-like 
crescent in the heavens was the astronomical representative. 

The rape of Proserpine, and the mournful search for her by Ceres over 
the whole world, is but the converse of the descent of Osiris into Hades and 
of the similar search made for him by Isis. Ceres and Isis were one person, 
the same as the Indian Sree or Isi or Devi ; and their Mysteries related to 
the same event, the temporary aphanism of the mundane arkite god and 
goddess and their subsequent reappearance. The scene of the rape is com- 
monly laid in Sicily near the city of Enna : and a sacred lake was shewn 
there, into vvhich Pluto was thought to have plunged when he carried his 
blooming prize down to the infernal regions.^ This was in exact accord- 
ance with the notions of the old mythologists, among whom lakes were es- 
teemed symbols of the deluge ; \^hilc small islands, sometimes natural and 
sometimes artificially made to float, were deemed apt representations of the 
Earth and the Ark. Tlie Orphic poet however alludes to the story with a 
curious variation ; curious, both because it points out what we are to un- 
derstand by the lake, and connects the Sicilian goddess with the Eleusinian 
worship of Ceres. He describes Pluto as bearing away Proserpine in his 
chariot over the sea, as conveying her to Eleusis in Attica, and as tliere car- 
rying her down to the infernal regions through a sacred cave.' The purport 
of the two accounts is precisely the same, though the mode of relating them 
is somewhat different. The sea in the latter supplies the place of the lake in 
the former : but both by the sea and the lake the deluge is equally meant, on 

• Jul. Firm, dc error, prof. rel. p. 19. 

* Jul. Firm, de error, p. 17. Ovid. Metam. lib. v. ver. 385 — 437. 
' Orph. H^mn. xvii. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 P 



298 THE OniGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATllY. 

ijooiiiv. i^j^g surface of which the arkite god and goddess floated in mysterious union. 
So likewise, in the latter, the place of descent is Eleusis, and the mode of 
descent is through a cave ; while, in the former, the scene is laid at Enna, 
and the god is sometimes thought to have descended through the lake, and 
sometimes through a chasm in the earth which he himself made when he 
found that he was opposed by the river-nymph Cyane. The fact was, that 
the same worship prevailed both in Sicily and Attica. The cave where a 
road to Hades was shewn, and the chasm through which Pluto was feigned 
to have descended, were equally sacred grottos devoted to the celebration 
of the Mysteries. They represented the gloomy interior of the Earth and 
of the Ark ; the Hades of old mythology, ^vhence the great father was sup- 
posed to have been born or to have returned to light from the nether world. 
(2.) As Pluto or the infernal Jupiter is Noah during the period of his 
aphanism or inclosure within the Ark, and as the kingdom over which he 
presides is the mundane Ark itself, we shall find almost every particular re- 
lative to the pagan Hades borrowed from the history of the deluge. 

The door of hell, which was shewn at the entrance of every Mithratic ca- 
vern, and through which the aspirants were variously said to be born again 
or to return from the infernal regions, was no other than the door of the 
Ark; a conclusion, which necessarily follows from Pluto, like the infernal 
Menu or Yama of the Hindoos, being the god of the Ark. The three 
judges of hell, ^vho are described as the assessors of Pluto, are the triple 
offspring of Noah with the patriarch himself at their head. One of them 
accordingly is feigned to be the Minos of Crete : but there can scarcely be 
a doubt, that this ancient personage is the same as the Menu of Hindostan, 
the Manes or Menes of Phrygia and Egypt, the Minuas of Greece, the 
Menu or Menwyd of Britain, and the Mannus of the Goths or Scythians. 
So again : the infernal river Styx is the deluge ; and it was viewed precisely 
in the same light by the Greeks, as the Nile was by the Egyptians, and as 
the Ganges is by the Hindoos. Each of those celebrated streams is a river 
of Hades or Patala ; and each has its sacred boat and ferryman of the dead, 
who is evidently the prototype of the classical Charon, but who is no less 
evidently the scriptural Noah floating in the Ark. Thus Buddha or Menu, 
under the name of Salivahana and Narava/iana, is described as the con- 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 299 

veyer of souls in the larger boat over the river of hell : and, since the Hin- ^^*^^' 
doo infernal river is the Ganges, that sacred stream must be the water on 
which he exercises his imaginary occupation." But this Menu is the very 
person, who was preserved in an ark with seven companions at the time of 
tlie deluge : and he doubtless discharges his function of ferryman of the dead 
in his character of Sraddadeva or the god of obsequies. Thus also the 
Egyptian Charon was similarly "thought to ferry the souls of the deceased 
over the Acherusian pool, which was formed by the overflowing of the Nile. ■ 
The vessel, which he employed for this purpose, was no other than the Ba- 
ris or Argo; and the Nile was esteemed by the Egyptians a type of the ocean 
or deluge. But the Baris or Argo was the ship of Osiris, in which he was 
set afloat on the river during the period of his allegorical death : and his en- 
trance into that vessel, which was formed like a lunette, and which was 
symbolized by the heifer Isis called Theba or the Ark, was his fabled de- 
scent into the infernal regions.^ Charon therefore is the same person as 
Osiris, just as the Hindoo ferryman is Menu or Buddha : in other words, 
he is Pluto or the diluvian Noah, considered in his infernal character of the 
god of obsequies. 

(3.) The allegorical death of the patriarch was sometimes styled his 
aphanism or disappearance : he was first bewailed as one lost, and after- 
wards rejoiced over as being found again. On this idea the Greeks seem 
to have constructed the fable of Pluto's wonderful helmet, which under dif- 
ferent modifications has been adopted into so many romances and fairy- 
tales ; for that god was undoubtedly and avowedly the same person as the 
Osiris or Serapis of Egypt. Tliey tell us, that, at the epoch of the Ti- 
tanic war or (in other words) of the general deluge, the Cyclopes forged a 
helmet for Pluto, which possessed the faculty of rendering its wearer in- 
visible. 

Heraclitus reasonably enough remarks, that this helmet is death, after 
which a man is no longer seen by his kindred. His observation is just in 

' Asiat. Res, vol. ix. p. 173. Ramayuii. b. i. sect. 5. When the Manich^ans strangely 
fancied Christ to have been an incarnation of Buddha or Manes, they applied to him the same 
title and character. 

* Diod. Bibl. lib. j. p. 82, 83, 86, 87. 



300 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK IV. ti)e main : but the death or disappearance denoted hy the helmet, as mav 
be collected from the whole mythological history of the Cabiric Pluto, was 
tlie mystic death or aphanism of Osiris when he was shut up in the ark ; 
and the helmet itself, if I mistake not, like tbe^ cap and the sacred shield, 
was a symbol of that vessel which produced the fabled invisibility.' 

(4.) Such being the apparatus and import of the pagan Hades, we shall 
not wonder to find the character of Proserpine perfectly harmonizing with 
what has been said respecting Pluto, the three infernal judges, Charon, his 
ship Baris or Argo, and the sacred stream whether denominated Styx or 
Nile or Gattges. 

The Orphic poet speaks of her, as being at once the life and the death 
of mortals ; and celebrates her, as being the mother, by an ineffable inter- 
course with Jupiter, of Eubulcus or Bacchus, who is said to have been in 
his infancy exposed in an ark on the surface of the sea.' Homer represents 
her, as sporting with the daughters of the Ocean ; just as the Hindoo my- 
thologists tell us, that she was the daughter of the Ocean ; and that she 
lay concealed within its recesses.' And Porphyry, while he identifies her 
with Maia or the great mother whom the Hindoos make the parent of the 
diluvian Buddha or Menu, remarks, that the dove or wood-pigeon was sa- 
cred to her, and that she received the name of Pherephatta from the cir- 
cumstance of her feeding that sacred bird.* This fable is of a common origin 
with the Indian tale, which describes the great mother as assuming the form 
of the Argha during the prevalence of the deluge, and as afterwards flying 
away in the shape of a dove while the waters were retiring. 

(5.) Pluto was the Muth of the Piienicians and the infernal great fa- 
ther of the ancient Celts, whom they claimed as their progenitor, and upon 
whom Cesar bestows the name of Dis ; though perhaps we ouglit rather to 
say, that they themselves designated him by this appellation, which is no 
other than the Hindoo or Indo-Scythic Deva, Deus, or DeoJ 

' ApoUod. Bibl. lib. i. c. 2. f 1. Htrac.de Incred. c. xxvii. 

* Orph. Hymn, xxviii. xxix. 

' Homer. Hymn, in Cerer. apvid Paus. Messen. p. 273. 

* Porphyr. de Abstin. lib. iv. § l6. 

' This I infer from the circumstance of one of the sacred rivers of the British Celts being 



THE ORIGIN" OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 301 

The word Miilh signifies Death : and the person, who bore the title, is *^"*'' "'• 
said by Sanchoniatho to have been the son of Cronus by Rhea, and is pro- 
nounced by his translator Philo to be the same as Pluto. I am greatly mis- 
taken, if this Mutli be not the same also as the ]Mot mentioned at the be- 
ginning of the Phenician history, in which the process of the original crea- 
tion of the world and its renovation after the deluge are mingled together in 
the usual manner of the old mythologists. Mot is described, as the chaotic 
mixture produced by the union of the primeval Cupid with the wind Kol- 
pias. Now, according to the system of ancient IMaterialism by which the 
various parts of universal nature were esteemed but the different members of 
the great father, the original Chaos was accounted the same as that oldest of 
deities, or, in the language of the Hindoos, it was one of his forms. Thus 
Osiris was confounded with his adversary Typhon or the ocean : and thus 
Janus, who is certainly the same as Noah, is introduced by Ovid declaring 
himself to be the primitive Chaos out of which the world was framed. Si- 
milar ideas appear to have been entertained by the Phenicians : for, after the 
various conjectures that have been made respecting the import of the word 
Mot, I think it most agreeable to the genius of old mythology, which es- 
teemed the original Chaos and the diluvian or infernal god the same, to con- 
clude, that the names Mot and Muth are also the same. The Celts of 
Britain esteemed Ceridwen or the great navicular mother the goddess of 
death ; consequently, like their brethren of Gaul, they must have venerated 
the great father as Death personified." The Celts of Gades, in a similar 
manner, vvorsl>ipped a god, whom Philostratus calls Death : and the 
Hindoos, as we have already seen, equally venerated their egg-bom divinity 
under the same appellation. This Gadetanic Death is evidently the Dis 
and the Muth mentioned by Cesar and Sanchoniatho. His rites, like those 
of the infernal Baal-Peor before whom the Israelites eat the offerings of 
the dead, appear to have been mingled with obscenity ;^ a circumstance, 
systematically universal throughout the gentile world, and arising from the 

called Dee or Deva in honour of the great mother and from Hu himself being styled Deun. 
Sec Davics's Mythol. of Brii. Druid, p. 152, 153, 119, 121. 

' Davies's Myth. p. 231. 

* They were the origin, 1 suspect, of the Spanish dance Fandango. 



BOOS IV, 



302 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

notion entertained of Noah and the Ark being the two presidents of gener- 
ation. The old Etruscans called this god Mantiis ; which is but a compound 
variation of the Menu, Manes, and Mannus, of the Hindoos, Egyptians, and 
Goths : for Mantus is equivalent to the god Manu. He was the infernal 
Pluto, and at the same time the diluvian Menu in his character of the god 
of obsequies.' 

3, Pluto, driving Proserpine in his chariot over the sea, melts into the 
character of the oceanic god Neptune, as Neptune again melts similarly into 
that of the marine Jupiter : and the fabulous regent of the sea is still the 
great father, specially viewed as floating on the surface of the mighty deep. 
Hence we find him throughout closely connected with the deluge. 

(1.) He is said to have brought a flood over Attica at the time when the 
mystic olive-branch was produced : and he is denominated by Hesiod the 
t auric god and celebrated as the peculiar defender of Theba or the Ark.' 
He is also feigned to have shut up the Titans or impious antediluvians in the 
central cavity of the earth, surrounding them on all sides with the ocean ; 
to have overwhelmed the island and the whole wicked race of the Phlegyae 
beneath the waves of the sea ; to have been the first mariner that ever trusted 
himself to the boundless deep ; to have brought a flood over the land of 
Ethiopia together with a ceto, which is a well-known symbol of the Ark ; to 
have similarly inundated, and similarly sent a ceto into, the territories of 
tlie Iliensians ; and to have assumed the various symbolical arkite forms of a 
horse, a dolphin, and a bull.' 

In the first of these forms he had intercourse with Ceres, while in search 
of her daughter Proserpine. The reluctant goddess, vainly wishing to escape 
from him, changed herself into a mare : and, afterwards beholding her new 
form in the Arcadian fountain of Styx, near which this amour was carried 

' Sanchon. apud Euseb. Prasp. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. Caes. de bell. Gall. lib. vi. c. 18. Ovid, 
Fast. lib. i. ver. 103. Bochart. Chanaan. lib. i. c. 33. p. 584. c. 34. p. 609, 6lO. lib. ii. 
c. 2. p. 711. Asiat. Res. vol.viii. p. 439,440. Philost. in vit. ApoUon. p. 211. 

* ApoUod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. 13. Hesiod. Scut. Here. ver. 104. 

^Hesiod. Theog. ver. 811 — 819. Nonni Dionys. lib. xviii. Diod. Bibl. lib. v. p. 337. 
ApoUod. Bibl. lib. ii. c^i. ^ 3. c. 4. § 9- Ovid. Metara. lib. vi. ver. US, 120, 115, 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 303 

on, she in disgust miraculously tinged the water with black.' Apollodorus *^''*'' '^' 
says, that she received tlie embraces of Neptune in the shape of an Erinnys 
or Fury : but there is no real discrepance between the two accounts, which 
ought in fact to be joined together in one fable.* Ceres-Hippa was the nurse 
of Bacchus, and was certainly the goddess of the Ark. She was the great 
mother in the form of a mare, while Neptune was the great father in the 
form of a horse. In this particular she coincides with the Hindoo Devi or 
Parvati, one of whose numerous figures was a mare, though she also floated 
as a ship on the surface of the deluge.' But, viewed as a fiend-mare, she 
coincides yet more remarkably with Ceridwen, the Ceres of the ancient Bri- 
tons ; who, like herself, is evidently the same as the Sree or Devi of the 
Hindoos. One of the forms of Ceridwen was a mare, or rather a monstrous 
animal compounded of a mare and a hen : yet she was supposed to have 
been likewise a ship well stored with corn, in which an ancient personage was 
preserved during the period of a great inundation. In the first of these 
shapes, she was esteemed a fiend-mare and an infernal mare : and thus she 
exactly corresponds with the classical Ceres, who is indifferently feigned to 
have received the embraces of Neptune as a mare and as a fury; for let the 
two be united, and we have the British fiend-mare Ceridwen.* 

(2.) As the consort of Ceres and therefore as the great diluvian father, 
Neptune is said to have been plunged in his infancy beneath the waves of 
the sea : and much the same story is from him transferred to his son Eu- 
molpus. 

This person was the oflfspring of the oceanic god by Chion^ ; who, to 
avoid detection by her father, threw the child, as soon as he was born, 
into the sea. Neptune however preserved him from destruction : and, 
bearing him safely away to Ethiopia, committed him to the nurture of Ben- 
thesicyna and Amphitritfe.'^ 

It is easy to perceive, whence these kindred fables have originated. I 

■ Ptol. lleph. Nov. Hist, lib. iii. 

* ApoUod. Bibl. lib. iii. c. G. 

^ Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. l68. -vol. viii. p. 4U. 

* Davies's Mythol. p. 229, 260, 256. 

' Hyg. Fab. 139. Apollod. Bibl, lib. iii. c. 14. § 4. 



304 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

nooK IV. need only observe, that the latter, like many other of the Greek legends, is 
connected with Ethiopia or Cusha-dwip ; which, whether African or Asiatic, 
was a principal settlement of the daring tribe that appears to have been the 
grand corrupter of religion after the deluge. 

IX. The assertion of Artemidorus and Dionysius, that Ceres and Pro- 
serpine and Bacchus were worshipped by the Celts of Britain with rites 
similar to those of Samothrace, has been most amply confirmed by a recent 
inquiry into the theological system of the British Druids,' instituted from 
original native documents with equal learning and ingenuity.' It thence 
appears, that their Orgies had just the same relation to the deluge as those of 
the Samothracians, and that they worshipped a triad consisting of the god 
Hu and the two goddesses Ceridwen and Creirwy ; who, like the classical 
Ceres and Proserpine, were viewed as a mother and a daughter. Now the 
character of Hu is thus generally summed up by Mr. Davies from those my- 
thological compositions of the bards, which are denominated triads : and, 
like that of Osiris or Bacchus or Siva, it is palpably the character of 
Noah. 

He lived in the time of the flood : and with his oxen he performed some 
achievement, which prevented the repetition of that calamity. He was 
doubly symbolized by a bull and by a serpent. He first collected together 
the primitive race ; and formed them into communities or families. He first 
gave traditional laws for the regulation and government of society. He was 
eminently distinguished for his regard to peace and justice. He conducted 
the several families of the first race to their respective settlements in the va- 
rious regions of the earth. But he had instructed this race in the art of hus- 
bandry previous to their removal and separation.' 

With this character of Hu, every thing that is said of him will be found 
exactly to correspond. 

He was called the mighty, the sovereign, the ready protector, the giver 
of wine, the emperor of the land and the seas, the life of all that are in 
the world. He was said to have held after the deluge the strong-beamed 
plough. He was denominated Dylan, the son of the sea. He was thought 

' Artcraid. apud Strab. Geog. lib. iv. p. 198. Cion. Perieg. ver. 565. 
* Mythol.of Brit. Druid, p. 106, 107, 136, 56l, 562. 



THE ORIffIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 505 

to have sailed in a wonderful ship, when the floods came forth from heaven ^"^^' •^■• 
to the great deep. His peculiar day was styled a day of vengeance: and the 
reason assigned for its being so styled is, that it was a day rendered dreadful 
by the violently convulsive throes of all nature, when with thundering din 
the billows forth proceeded against the shore. He was called Dwyvan or 
the lofty cause, as the name of his mystic consort was Dxvyvach or the lesser 
cause : and in these characters, which are evidently those of the great father 
and mother, they were supposed to have been saved in a ship without sails, 
when the waters of lake Llion inundated the whole world. He was repre- 
sented, under the title of Noe, as presiding with his consort Eseye or Isi in 
that stupendous temple, which is indifferently called the great stone fence of 
their common sanctua)y, the A7-k of the World, the circle of the JVorld, 
the mundane circle of stones, the mound constructed of stone-tcorli iypfying 
the JVorld, the mundane rampart, thestallqf the cow.^ As venerated in this 
bovine stall, he was denominated Beo'-Lled or the bull of fame ; that is to 
say, the solar bull or the great father worshipped in the Sun.'' With a simi- 
lar reference to his tauric character, he is described as saying, I'xcas subjected 
to the yoke for my afiiction, but commensurate was my confidence ; the JVorld 
had no existence, were it not for my progeny: and, in allusion to an attri- 
bute specially ascribed by Moses to Noah, an ancient bard apostrophizes 
him, The heavy blue chain didst thou, O just man, endure; and for the 
spoils of the deep doleful is thy song.^ 

But the circle of stones was not the only temple of Hu : as both that cir- 
cle, and an island in the sea or in a lake, equally symbolized the World and 
the Ark; so his sanctuary is said to have been in an island surrounded by the 
tide, or on a wide lake, or on the surface of the ocean, or on the ninth wave, 
or on a rock beyond the billow, described as the rock of the supreme pro- 

• Ibid, p, 100, 101, 105, 108, 109, 113, 114, 121, 562, 568. 

* Mythol. of Brit. Druid, p. 120, 137- Air. Davics observes, that this title has no roean> 
ing in the British language: but he conjectures from the context, that it has been compounded, 
at a very remote period, of two Babylonic words Beer and Let, which import the bull ufjiume. 
I have retained his explanation: yet Btcr-Llud may perhaps rather denote the generative bull. 

' Ibid. p. 137. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. n. 2 Q 



HOOK IV. 



30(5 TKr, ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

prietor and as the chief place of tranquillity.' Here he dwells secure, having 
the rainbow for his girdle, and presiding over the ship with the iron door 
which once toiled to the summit of a lofty mountain.^ 

In reference to the same primeval vessel so particularly described by Moses, 
he is further celebrated as the door-keeper of the partial covering, as the god 
of the door or gate, as a protector in darkness, and as the defender of his sea- 
girt sanctuary. ' He is also represented as a ploughman or husbandman ; as 
a reaper; as the sacrificer of the mystic cow after the deluge; and, though 
astronomically revered in the Sun, as being able to protect his chair of pre- 
sidency in the midst of a general flood. He was like« ise the conqueror of the 
giants or antediluvian Titans; who are similarly overcome by Bacchus, Siva, 
Osiris, and Jupiter : and we are told, that, after he had been patient in 
affliction, he became the father of all the tribes of the earth.* 

Sometimes this tauric and ophite deity is described, as seated on the covered 
mount which shadowed out mount Ararat, and as refulgent with expanded 
wings. ' Here he is evidently the same character as the primeval Eros or 
Cupid, as the Orphic winged and ox-headed first-born Dionusus, and as the 
winged serpent Cneph of the Egyptian theology — Sometimes he is styled On 
or Deofi, which is equivalent to the divine On.^ Here again we may ob- 
serve the close connection of the British mythology with that of Egypt and 
Hindostan : for On was the Egyptian name of the Sun, or rather of the 
great father venerated in the Sun ; and it is clearly the same title as the Hin- 
doo Om or Awm, which is called the sacred triliteral monosyllable, and which 
is a special appellation of the solar Trimurti Brahma Vishnou Siva — Some- 
times he was supposed to have had two origins or births.' Here likewise we 
may trace his clear identity with the Orphic Bacchus or Protogonus ; who, 
as the son of the Ark, is said to have been born a second time from the womb 
of his nurse Hippa or Ceres. 

Lasltly, as was almost universally the case with the great father in every 
quarter of the globe, he was venerated as an infernal deity, and was thought 

' Mythol. of Brit. Druid, p. 120, 507, 508, 509, 537. 

• Ibirl. p. leo. ' Ibid. p. 199, 200, 120. 
' Ibid. p. 120, 121, 122. ' Ibid. p. 56l, 562. 

* Ibid. p. 526— 531, 562. ' Ibid. p. 528. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 307 

to liave lived and died alternately. In sustaining this part of his character, he 
bore the ivy-branch in the person of his representative priest ; agreeably to the 
accurateassertionof Dionysius, that the Britons covered themselves with leaves 
of that plant while celebrating the rites of their national Bacchus : and he was 
designated by the appellation Acdd or Aeddoii ; whicli was likewise assumed 
by his officiating minister, and which is evidently the same tide as Adoneus 
or Adonis. ' Yet, while revered as an infernal deity, he is still described 
under the name of Aeddon in such a manner, that we can as little mistake 
bis real character as that of the diluvian Menu whom the Hindoos make the 
god of obsequies. The Ark is expressly said by Taliesin to have been tiie 
ship of Aeddon : he is celebrated as having entered into the inclosure of the 
strong door, what time the elements were let loose and his contemporaries 
perished : and he is described as the chief of the toiling just ones, who long 
dwelt on a sea which had no shore, and of whose integrity it was that thev 
did not endure the extremity of distress/ 

X. The same system of theology prevailed throughout the continent of 
America at the time of its lirst discovery by the Europeans : and there appear 
to have been some relics of it in the back settlements to a very late period, if 
indeed it be even yet altogether extinct. The universal tiaditions of the 
Americans themselves, corroborated by recent geographical discoveries, 
seem to establish the position, that their ancestors crossed the narro^v chan- 
nel which separates Asia from the new world, and thus gradually spread 
themselves over a country long unknown in the west.' But the religion, to 
which they had been devoted while inhabiting the Asiatic continent, they 
would doubtless bring with them into their recently acquired settlements. 
And this circumstance, which might have been anticipated from the very 
course of their emigration, is clearly established by a reference to facts. 

1 . Mr. Adair, who long resided among the natives that occupy the districts 
behind the United States, imagines, that they are descendants of the long- 
lost ten tribes of Israel. I cannot help suspecting however, that his curious 
narrative has been heightened by the love of a system perhaps too hastily 

' Mythol. of Brit. Druid, p. 122, 259, 574. * Ibid. p. 118, 55-i, 555, 557. 
^ Robertson's Hist, of Amcr. b. iv, sect. 8. p. 41, 42, 43. 



308 THE ORICfN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. adopted ; and that to a mind preoccupied with the idea, that tiiey must be 
Israelites because their priests carried about a small ark, every rite and cus- 
tom prevalent among them served to bring additional conviction. They 
had, it seems, a consecrated ark, in which they kept various holy vessels. 
This ark the priests were wont to bear in solenin processions. They never 
placed it on the ground : but, where stones were to be had, they rested it 
upon them; where they were not to be had, upon short logs of wood. 
Tliey entertained an implicit faith in the power and holiness of their ark : and 
they esteemed it so sacred, that no one presumed to touch it except the 
chieftain and his attendant, and they only on very particular occasions. 
The deity of this ark they invocated by the name of Yo-He-JVah ; which 
Mr. Adair supposes to be a slight variation of the Jehovah of the Hebrews, 
while he pronounces the ark to be a transcript of the ark of the covenant.' 

Such a conjecture would be highly probable, were the Israelites the only 
people upon record, whose priests were accustomed to bear a sacred ark in 
solemn procession : but, so far is this from being the case, that the rite pre- 
vailed in every part of the gentile world, originating no doubt from a strong 
tradition of the Ark and the deluge. Hence I feel thoroughly persuaded, 
that the ark of these Americans was no other than the ark of Siva, Osiris, 
Ammon, Adonis, Bacchus, Attis, Hu, and IMenu; and that their theology, 
so far from being a corruption of the Mosaical Institutes, was in reahty that 
very Diluvianism which constituted so large a part of the religion of the pagans. 
It must be confessed, that Yo-He-JFah, as Mr. Adair writes the title of the 
ark-god, bears a considerable resemblance to the name Jehovah: but I more 
than suspect, that he has combined into one word what ought to be consi- 
dered as two distinct invocations. Purchas, giving an account from Champ- 
lain of the same American region, tells us, that, when the inhabitants were 
celebrating their sacred rites, all the females present stripped themselves 
naked, and in this condition joined in a frantic song and dance. When they 
had finished, they exclaimed with one voice. Ho, Ho, Ho ; and then resumed 
their garments. After a while they again cast them aside, again performed 

' See iv work intitled The History of the American Indians, hy James Adair, Esq, a trader 
with eke Indians an(l resident m the country for ^Oyearst 



THE ORIGIN OF PACAX IDOLATRY. 309 

the dance and the song, and again joined in the same exclamation. He chap, i v. 

adds, that the young women of the country, when they attained the age of 

fourteen or fifteen years, prostituted themselves to whomsoever they pleased; 

and tliat they followed this course of lite for the space of five or six years, 

when they entered into the matrimonial state. With respect to their theology, 

they venerated one god, one son, and one mother; and these they associated 

with the Sun, thus making their deities four in number. The first of them they 

also styled the father : and they had a notion, that their goddess, whona 

they eminently called the mother, once devoured or swallowed up both her 

offspiing and the Sun. ' 

In tliis narrative Mr. Adair would doubtless have discovered the Trinity; 
and would have pronounced the god, denominated the son, to be tlie Mimra 
or filial Word of the ancient Targumists : yet it distinctly enough sets 
forth to us nothing more than the religious notions and practices of the old 
pagans, and thus confirms the supposition that the sacred ark was the ark of 
Bacchus or Osiris. The deity, whom these Americans venerated, was 
called Ho ; and they thrice invoked him in allusion to that mystic triplication 
so highly celel)rated by the gentile hierophants. He is the same, even in title, 
as the Hu of tlie Britons and the Huas of the Greeks ; and the name Ho is 
evidently what Mr. Adair writes Yo. This then, as we collect from Champ- 
lain, is tlie title of the god : but the natives, it appears, used also another 
exclamation, which Mr. Adair expresses dividedly He-JVah. I am inclined 
to believe, that, as Ho is ilu or Bacchus, so we have here no other than the 
Bacchic cry of Hevah or Evo'e ; and consequently that the exclamation Yo- 
He-JVah, which is thought to be a corruption of Jehovah, is in fact nothing 
more than Ho-Hevah, which is equivalent to Huas Evo'e or inversely Evo'e 
Bacche. With such an opinion the indecent rites of the god exactly corre- 
spond. The songs and dances of the naked women are the songs and dances 
of the Bacchantes and priestesses of Flora; their denudation corresponds 
with the similar religious denudation of the Egyptian females, before the bull 
Apis, and at the festival of Bubast^ who was the same as Isis or the Ark ', 
and their prostitution was probably much of the same nature, as that of the 

' Eurch. Pilgr. b. viik c. 4. p. 760, 751. 



3\i) THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

Bain Ionian uoineii iu honour of J.Iylitta, of the Armenian in honour of Anai's, 
of the Cvjjrian and Lyclian in Ijonour of Venus, and of tlic Canuauitish in 
honour of Baal-Peor. ' These rites, in short, are very evidently the phallic 
rites, which were always associated with the arkile worship, and which were 
the universal disgraceof thelicentious theology of the Gentiles. Asfortheark, 
whicli no one might touch save the chieftain or his deputy, it is clearly, I thinic, 
(he Bacchic ark ; Mhich contained the syinhols of the god and his worship, and 
M hich none niiglit open with safety except the initiated. Tliis ark I suppose 
to have been here, as elsewhere, the token and shrine of the goddess ; whom, 
like all the other pagans, they emphatically called the mother or the great 
mother. She is associated with two other deities, who bear to each other 
the relation of father and son. Of an exactly similar description was the 
Egyptian triad, composed of Isis the great mother, Osiris the father, and 
Horus the sun. Such also was the Gothic triad, consisting of Frea the mo- 
ther, Woden the father, and Thor the son. And nearly allied to it is one 
of the oriental triads, which comprehends Subhadra the great mother, and 
Jagan-Nath and Bal-Rama two brethren. They have all, I believe, originated 
from the same souice. The number three is taken from the number of the 
sons of the transmigrating great father : but the triad itself is made up of the 
mundane arkite great mother, and the great father considered with reference 
to two different periods of his life, during the former of which he appears as 
the consort and during the latter as the offspring of the maternal goddess. 
With the worship of this triad is joined that of the Sun; an arrangement, 
which again perfectly corresponds with the mythology of the Gentiles in the 
old world. These remarks will lead us to a right understanding of the wild 
fiction, which the American savages have received from their ancestors, re- 
lative to the devouring or swallowing up of the Sun and the filial god by the 
female deity whom they revere as the great mother. It alludes, I am per- 
suaded, to the entrance of the solar god Noah into the Ark ; and it is sub- 
stantially the same as the absorption of Bacchus by Ceres-Hippa. An idea 
precisely similar occurs in the Druidical Mysteries: the aspirant, who 
imitated in his own person all the sufferings of the great father, was sometimes 

' Herod. lib. ii. c. 60. Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. 76. Strab. Geog. lib. xi. p. 533. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 313 

feigned to be swallowed up by the ship-goddess Ceridwen and to be after- ^"■'^^- '^• 
wards born again as an infant from her womb.' 

That Mr. Adair is mistaiven in deducing the northern Americans from 
the Israelites, and that I have rightly identified their ark-god Ho with Hu 
or Huas, will appear yet more decidedly, if we examine the theology of 
those two nations of the new world, which had made the greatest progress 
in civilization, or (as I suspect we ought rather to express ourselves) had the 
least degenerated into the savage state from the institutes of their ancestors. 

It is excellently conjectured by Sir William Jones, though he has not 
pursued the investigation resulting from such an opinion, that the religion of 
Mexico and Peru was the same in origin and substance, as that of Egypt, 
Hindostan, Greece, Italy, China, and Japan. ^ What he has omitted I shall 
endeavour to supply : and, since the theology of those two more civilized 
American nations is clearly the same as that of their northern brethren, if 
we see reason to adopt his conjecture as the truth, it will obviously follow, 
that the ark-god, whose character \vc have last discussed, must be the same 
as the ark-god of E^'Vpt, and those other countries enumerated by Sir Wil- 
liam Jones. 

2. The tradition of the Mexicans, at the period when their country fell 
under the Spanish yoke, was as follows. 

While their ancestors in a state of nomade barbarism were inhabiting re- 
gions that lie to the north of Mexico, their gods bade them seek new lands, 
and specified distinctly the signs by wliich they should know them. This, if 
we reduce their supputation to our era, occurred about the beginning of the 
eighth century. Thev proceeded southward in quest of the predicted signs 
so leisurely, that the last of the seven tribes, of which their family was com- 
posed, did not reach Mexico in less than three hundred years after the com- 
mencement of the joumey. From this tribe the Mexican Americans 
claimed to be peculiarly descended. The god, whom they venerated, was 
called Vitzliputzli or Mexitli : and he promised to make them lords of the 
possessions of the six other tribes, and to lead them into a land abounding 
with riches. Relying on his promise, they set forth under the immediate 

• Davies's Mythol. p. 229—259. * Asiat. Res. \ol. i. p. C68. 



9-lS: THE. ORIGIN OF PAG-AN IDOLATRY. 

Bw<t '»• auspices of this deity : for, having placed him in an oracular ark or coffer 
made of reeds, they consigned him to the care of four priests, who bore him 
and his vehicle on tlieir shoulders and pretended on every occasion to receive 
their directions immediately from him. It was he, speaking in an audible 
voice from his ark, who pointed out their line of march, who charged them 
to halt, or who commanded them to advance : it was he, who prescribed 
to them the whole ceremonial of their religion. The leader whom they fol- 
lowed, or rather the god himself, was called 3Iea.'i ; whence the nation re- 
ceived the appellation of Mexicans. In the course of their progress,' they 
sent to the lord of Culbuacan, who seems to have been the chief of one 
of the tribes that had preceded them, to demand his daughter, in order that 
she might be their queen and the mother of their god. The request 
was readily granted: but, the very night of her arrival, she was slain 
by order of the deity. Afterwards she was flayed : and a young man, 
heiag covered with her skin and arrayed in her feminine attire, was 
placed near the idol and consecrated as the mother of their god. A 
youth thus attired was worshipped by them ever since : and the name, by 
which they distinguished him, was Toccy, which signifies our great mother. 
Leaving the territory of Culhuacan, they advanced to the place where 
Mexico is now situated. Here their priests found all the signs, v.hich the 
god had pointed out as marking the scite of iheir final settlement. These 
were, a, clear stream of water or rather a lake, surrounded with meadows, 
well replenished with fish, and abounding with the water-lily or lotos. Ac- 
cordingly, the following night, Vitzliputzli appeared in a dream to an agedT 
priest ; and commanded, that they should seek a tree,' which grew out of a 
rock in the midst of the lake, and upon which they should observe an eagle 
feeding on small birds, since that was destined to be the place where they 
should build a city famous throughout the whole world. The search was;, 
duly made ; and the ominous eagle was discovered in the very situation 
described by the god. Forthwitij^ by ,CGmmon consent, they erected a tem- 

' Purchas says tunal, which from the coDtext seems to mean some kind of tree; but I knoW' 
not the precise import of the word. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 313 

porary building on the insular rock, that the ark of their deity might rest *'»*''■ '*• 
there until they should be able to construct a sumptuous temple for its re- 
ception. Next, they with much labour enlarged the area of the rocky 
island by casting into the lake around it stone, timber, lime, rubbish, and 
such other materials as they could manage to procure. When they had thus 
gained a sufficient surface above the level of the water, they built upon it 
the temple of their god and the future capital of their empire.' 

We may readily discover in this curious tradition almost every idea, that 
prevailed in the old diluvian worship. 

The oracular ark, containing the god and borne by the priests, is the very 
same as the oracular ark of Amnion or Osiris or Bacchus, and as the Argo 
and Argha of the Greek and Hindoo mythologies. The great mother of 
the deity is that same great mother, whose rites prevailed universally 
throu^liout the gentile world. And the lake with the rocky island is that an- 
cient symbol of the deluge and the mundane Ark, which we find so highly 
venerated in every quarter of the globe. It is observable, that the Mexican 
great mother was personated by a boy in female attire. This also was per- 
fectly agreeable both to the notions and practice of the old idolaters. They 
alike, as I shall have occasion hereafter more largely to specify, esteemed 
the great father and the great mother an hermaphrodite ; for their androgy- 
nous deity was formed by the close union of the two : whence, as their 
priests and priestesses were supposed to personate and represent the objects 
of their worship, they gave them as much of this mixed nature as it was in 
their power to do. 

The manner in which the Mexicans were brought to the place destined 
for the foundation of their city, and the marks by which that place was to 
be known, afford another proof of the identity of their theology and that of 
the old continent. It is easy to collect from the tenor of the tradition, that 
the ancestors of the Mexicans were a wandering horde of Tatars : who, at 
a comparatively recent epoch, passed over from Siberia into America, and, 
advancing southward, at length founded no contemptible empire. It appears 
likewise, that they journeyed under the direction of their priests ; who bore 

' Purch. Pilgr. b. viii. c. 10. 

Pag. Idol. VOL.11. 2R 



814 THE ORIGIN Of PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

J.OOKIV. ^.jtjj much solemnity the figure of their god inclosed witliin an ark or boat, 
and who from time to time pretended to receive from him oracular responses 
specifying the course of their journey. Of an exactly similar description 
were the migrations of the arkite theologists in the old Morld. As Mr. 
Wilford justly observes, when tracing the connection of the Indian Argha 
with the Greek and Egyptian Argo and with the sacred ship of the Ger- 
manic or Gothic Suevi, the mystic boat was held by some of the first emi- 
grants from Asia to be their Palladium or pledge of safety, and as such was 
carried by them in their various jourtieys ; whence the poets je.igned, that the 
Argo was borne over mountains on the shoulders of the Argonauts. ' We 
may also remark, that, when the ancient colonists were about to establish 
a settlement or to build a city, they were wont to consult their god, and that 
he in return pointed out certain specific marks by which they might know the 
destined place. These marks were usually in close connection with their 
religion, the artful priests contriving to blend superstition even with their very 
existence as a settled nation. Thus Ilus and Cadmus were each com- 
manded by an oracle to build Troy and Thebes on the exact spot where a 
cow should lie down : and thus the Phenicians laid the foundations of Car- 
thage, where they dug up the heads of a bull and a horse ; the latter of 
which, according to Virgil, was the express sign which their guardian deity 
had declared to them.* The signs pointed out by the ark-god of the Mex- 
icans were, in the first instance, a lake abounding with the lotos and well 
stored with fish ; and, in the second, a rocky island in the midst of the lake 
with an eagle perched upon it. Now the lotos was a well-known sacred ve- 
getable both in Egypt and India ; and we are told, that it was a symbol of 
the mundane ship Argha : whence, from its property of always floating 
on the surface of the water, the diluvian gods were represented sitting 
within its calix. The fish and the eagle were also sacred ; and, as such, 
were highly venerated in every quarter of the world. These additions to 
t"he lake and the island are almost the only particulars, in which the direc- 
tions given to the Mexicans by their ark-god diflfer from those marked out to 

' Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 137, 138. 

* Eustath. in Dion. Pcrieg. ver. 195. Virg. iEncid. lib. i. ver. 445 — 449. 



THE OUIGIN OF PAGAV IDOLATRY. 3 f 5 

awandering colony of the ancient Pelasgi or Scythic Palli. They were cnxr. iv. 
commanded by an oracle to shape their course to Italy, and not to settle 
until they should find a lake with a floating island in the midst of it.' The 
lake proved to be that of Cotyl^ : and most probably the ingenuity of the 
priests supplied the symbolical floating island, which seems to have been one 
of the same description as Chemmis in the Egyptian lake near Buto.* 

The form of Vitzliputzli was that of a man seated on an azure-coloured 
stool in an ark or litter, at every corner of which there was a piece of wood 
carved into the shape of a serpent's head. His forehead was likewise azure • 
and a band of azure passed under his nose from one ear to the other. Upon 
his head he had a rich plume of feathers covered on the top with gold. In 
his left hand he held a white target : and in his right he grasped an afure 
staff" carved into the semblance of a waving snake. The box or ark or 
litter, within which he was seated, was covered with linen clothes, feathers^ 
jewels, and ornaments of gold ; and it was conspicuously placed upon a 
lofty altar. Before him was drawn a curtain or veil, by way of exciting the 
greater veneration. Such was the ark-god of the Mexicans ; and it is 
worthy of notice, that they supposed all his ornaments to have a certain 
mystical sense attached to them.' In this opinion I believe them to have 
been perfectly right. The dark azure or blue approaching to black is a sa- 
cred colour highly venerated both by the Hindoos and the Egyptians ; most 
probably as being the hue of the watery element, on which the great father 
and the Ark once floated.* The serpent, which possesses the faculty of 
casting its skin and appearing again in renovated youth, was a very general 
symbol of the transmigrating diluvian god, who was supposed to have ex- 
perienced a second birth : hence it was placed in the bosoms of those who 
were initiated into the jSIysteries, as a token of their regeneration.' The 

• Dion. Halic. Ant. Rom. lib. i. c. 15, 19. 

* Mr. Southey, in his poem of Madoc, describes the forefathers of the Mexicans as having 
artificial floating islands covered with turf and flowers, on which they ferried over the waters of 
a sacred lake. He also speaks of their god Mexitli or Vitrliputzli as born from the great mo- 
ther without the concurrence of a father. Both these particulars are strictly accordant with 
the spirit of old mythology. His authorities are the Spanish writers. 

' Purch. Pilgr. b. viii. c. 11. * Asiat. Res. vol. i.p. 26l. Kuscb. Praep. Evan. lib. i.e. 11. 
' Clcra. Alex. Cohort, p. 11. 



316 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

BOOK IV. stool, as the Spanish writers call it, on which the deity was seated, I take 
to have been in reality J-he calix of the lotos ; which was placed in the centre 
of the ark, agreeably to the practice both of the Greeks, the Hindoos, and 
the Egyptians, to symbolize the sacred oracular navel : and I am the more 
confirmed in my opinion by an evident mistake of a precisely similar nature, 
which Dr. Parsons has made with respect to the curious Siberian medal in 
the cabinet of the Russian autocrat. He says, that the triple divinity, 
whose form it exhibits, is seated upon a low sopha or stool : but the most 
careless inspection of the foe-simile of the medal will convince any person, 
who has paid the least attention to the mythological antiquities of Egypt and 
Hindostan, that the supposed stool is no other than the sacred aquatic lotos 
and the god himself the triplicated great father.' Now the region, where 
this medal was found, is the precise country which must have been occupied 
by the ancestors of the Mexicans previous to their crossing over into Ame- 
rica : we may therefore be tolerably sure, that, if the stool on the medal be 
a lotos, the stool of the Mexican god must be a lotos also. This same 
flower, unless I greatly mistake, was nearly allied to the Delphic tripod, on 
which the priestess sat when she received from the sacred rocky cleft the va- 
pour of inspiration : and, in a similar manner, the curtain of Vitzliputzli 
seems to be closely connected with the curtain of the Pythian Apollo and 
with the mystic veil of Isis and Hymen. 

In conjunction Mith Vitzli|)utzli the Mexicans worshipped another god, 
whom they called Tlaloc. These two were always placed together : for they 
esteemed them companions, and ascribed to them an equal degree of power/ 
The triad was completed by the goddess, whom they styled the great mother, 
and whom they venerated as the goddess of the waters. ' As I have already 
observed, like the chief female deity of the pagans in every quarter of the 
globe, she was a personification of the mundane Ark floating on the surface 
of the ocean : while the two other members of the triad correspond with 
Osiris and Horus, Jupiter and Dionusus, Woden andThor, or Jagan-Nath 

' Remains of Japhet. p. 184, 187. * Parch. Pilgr. b. viii. c. II. 

' Purch. Pilgr. b. viii. c. 10. This goddess of the waters was personated by a priest in 
female attire precisely in the same manner as the Mexican great mother : whence I infer, that 
they vfere one goddess. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 317 

and Bal-Rama. These were accounted the peculiar divinities of the sacred '■"*''• ■^• 
lake : and the Mexicans annually propitiated them by a very characteristic 
human sacrifice. On the day appointed for the ceremony, they embarked 
upon the lake in a great number of canoes, carrying with them a boy and a 
girl. When arrived in the middle of it, they placed the unhappy victims in a 
little boat ; and caused it to sink with them in such a manner, that it never 
again appeared. ' The rite needs but little explanation : the two children 
were designed to represent the infant great father and mother on the surface 
of the intermediate deluge ; and the whole ceremony bears a resemblance 
which can scarcely be mistaken to the Hindoo practice of committing the 
goddess to the water, the Egyptian custom of precipitating a virgin into the 
Nile and setting Osiris afloat in his ark, and the ancient Roman mode of 
sacrificing men to the diluvian Cronus by throwing diem into the Tiber. * 

3. Religious notions and practices, more or less resembling those of the 
Mexicans, prevailed in every otlier part of America:' but I must hasten to 
the theology of the second civilized empire in that quarter of the world. 

The principal god of the Peruvians was called Viracocha and Pachaca- 
7nac. The latter of these titles I suspect to be compounded of the Indian 
Baghis and Cama, the Bacchus and Caimis of the Greeks and Egyptians : 
but the former denotes, in their language, the froth of the sea. This mari- 
time god was esteemed by them the great author of nature : and, next to him, 
or rather (as I believe) in conjunction with him, they worshipped the Sun. 
The rites of Viracocha, agreeably to his name, had an immediate relation to 
the sea, whence he was thought to have been born. He was likewise sup- 
posed to have sprung from the great lake Titiaca : but the import of both 
these legends is substantially the same ; for a lake was a symbol of the deluge, 
and the sacred lake of the Peruvians appears to have received its appellation 
from the great mother Sita or Tit^a. Accordingly we find both it and Vira- 
choca immediately connected with their traditions of the deluge. They sup- 
posed, that, when all the inhabitants of the world were destroyed by the 
waters of a flood, it was repeopled by their ancestors; who, at that period, 

' Purch. Pilgr. b. viii. c. 13. 

" Asiat. Res. vol.i. p. 251. Niebuhr's Trarels. sect. ii. c. 8. Lactant. Instit. lib. i. § 21. 

^ See Purch. Pilgr. b. viii. and ix. 



B»UK IV. 



318 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

came out of a cave within which they had been concealed : and they had 
another legend, that, when all men were drowned, Viracocha emerged from the 
lake Titiaca, and thence proceeded to Ciisco ; after which time mankind began 
to multiply. ' These two fables relate the same event in a somewlrat different 
manner : but they are both conceived perfectly according to the genius of 
ancient Paganism. The cave, whence the ancestors of the Peruvians came 
forth after the deluge, means the Ark ; which was symbolized by a gloomy 
grotto, whence the great father and such as were initiated into the Mysteries 
were thought to be born again : and the lake, whence Virachoca was sup- 
posed to have emerged when all mankind perished by water, symbolizes the 
diluvian ocean, of which he was esteemed the mystic offspring. In this same 
lake, as I have already had occasion to mention, the Peruvians shewed a 
small island, where they believe that the Sun once hid himself and was thus 
preserved from impending danger. Hence they built a temple to him upon it, 
provided it with an establishment of priests and women, and there offered to 
him great sacrifices both of men and of animals. It is curious to observe, 
how exactly these notions coincide with those which prevailed among the 
Gentiles of the eastern continent. We have here the symbolical lake and 
sacred island, a lake avowedly connected with the deluge and the repeopling 
of the earth, so that the import of the legend cannot be mistaken. We have 
here also the Sun, or Viracocha worshipped in conjunction with the Sun, 
sheltering himself from danger in the small island; precisely in the same 
manner as the Greek Apollo and the Egyptian Horus, each of whom was 
confessedly the Sun, severally received shelter from their implacable enemy 
the ocean in the floating islands of Delos and Chemmis. The correspondence 
between the three fables is such, that their identity cannot reasonably be 
doubted : and, if their identity be allowed, then the religion of Peru must 
have had a common origin with that of Greece and Egypt. 

With Viracocha or Pachacamac they worshipped the Earth under the 
name of Pachamama, esteeming her the mother of all things ; and the sea 
under the cognate name of Alamacocha, which denotes the mother sea. By 
the first of these they meant tt)e great universal mother that once floated oa 

' Purch. Pilgr. b. ix. c. 9- V- ^74. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 319 

the ocean, between whom and the Earth there existed throughout the mytho- '^"*''« "• 
logy of the Gentiles a systematic intercommunion of personality : and the 
second, from the circumstances of the deluge, was ever reckoned the general 
parent both of gods and men. ' That such was the case, may be collected 
from the character of another symbolical deity who was associated with them. 
This was the rainbow with a snake attached to either extremity of it. 

It seems to me sufficiently evident, that Pachacama and Pachamama are 
the same as those two remarkable personages, from %vhom they deduced 
both the family of their Incas and the foundation of tlieir empire. Their 
traditions inform us, that, while their ancestors roamed naked in the forests, 
strangers to every species of cultivation or regular industry, attached to no 
fixed residence, and unacquainted with those sentiments and obligations which 
form the first bonds of social union ; a man and a woman, of majestic form, 
and clothed in decent garments, suddenly appeared on the banks of the lake 
Titiaca. They declared themselves to be the children of the Sun ; and assert- 
ed, that they were sent by their beneficent parent to instruct the human race 
and to reclaim them from the irregularities of savage life. At their persua- 
sion, enforced by reverence for the divinity in whose name they were supposed 
to speak, several of the hitherto dispersed natives united together and followed 
them to Cusco, v> here they founded the capital of their future empire. The 
names of these extraordinary persons were Manco-Capac and Mama-Ocollo. 
The former instructed the men in agriculture and other useful arts, while the 
latter taught the women to spin and to weave. Nor did Manco attend only 
to the first objects of necessity in an infant state, such as food, raiment, and 
habitations : he was likewise the great lawgiver of the empire which he 
founded ; and, by precisely defining the functions of those in authority and 
by estat)iishing a due subordination of ranks in the governed, he handed 
down to his descendants and successors the Incas a well-ordered and regular 
body politic 

Any oile in the least degree conversant with tlie mythology of tlie pagans 
cannot avoid being struck «ith the perfect resemblance of character between 
Manco-Capac, and Osiris, Dionusus, Hu, Phoroneus, Cronus, and Janus, 

Sl-AitMW It &tujv yivimv, xKi iKfrc^a, TijOuv, precisely expresses the Peruvian notion. 



320 THE OttlGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATllY. 

BOOK IV. Qn the one hand ; and between Mania-Ocollo, and Isis, Ceres, Ceridwen, 
and Cybel^, on the otlier hand. This circumstance alone might lead us to 
suspect, what persons we ought to understand by them : and the suspicion 
will acquire additional strengtii from the apparent identity of ^lanco-Capac 
and Pachacama, and consequently of Mama-OcoUo and Pachamama. 
Manco and Pachacama are each desciibed as being the offspring of the Sun, 
and the latter is additionally said to have been born of the Moon notwithstand- 
ing his production from the sea and the lake Titiaca : they are each also 
feigned to have first appeared on the banks of that lake : and they are each 
celebrated as the founder of Cusco and as the first monarch of the Peruvian 
empire. But Pachacama, whose various modes of allegorical nativity may 
easily be reconciled with each other, is certainly the transmigrating great 
father : Manco-Capac therefore must be the same. And, if Manco-Capac 
be the great father, the analogy of Paganism requires us to infer, that Mama- 
OcoUo or the mother OcoUo is the arkite Magna Mater. Manco in short, 
the offspring of the Sun, is the diluvian Menu of the Hindoos, who is simi- 
larly feigned to be an emanation from the solar deity, and who is thence 
venerated under the appellation of Vaivaswata. The very name indeed 
seems to be a mere variation of that title, which by different nations was 
differently expressed Menu, Menes, Manes, Mannus, Man, Menwyd, 
Minos, or Manacan. 

It is curious to observe the numerous points of coincidence between the 
superstition of the Peruvians and that which prevailed throughout the whole 
of the eastern continent. 

Both they and their neighbours the Mexicans had consecrated virgins, 
whose functions and whose vow of celibacy precisely resembled those of the 
vestal virgins at Rome. 

The bull was venerated by the Peruvians no less than by the idolaters of 
Europe, Asia, and Africa. This animal, I have little doubt, was the sym- 
bol of Manco-Capac or Pachacama; as it vvas of Bacchus, Osiris, Menu, 
and Siva : and we may remark, that one of the sacred bulls of Egypt actually 
bore the name of Pads, which %vas compoundedly expressed Pacha-Cama 
by the Peruvians. Pads is the same title, as what the Greeks wrote Bac- 
chus, and the Hindoos express Baghis : and, if I mistake not, it forms the 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAV IDOLATRY. 32 1 

second appellation of the Sun-born jManco ; for Capac is probably no other c"'^*"- i''- 
than the Ce-Baeche of the ancient Irish or the Ca-Baghis of the Hindoos, 
the import of which is the illustrious Bacchus. 

In all their sacrifices the Peruvians used shells, calling them the 
daughters of the Ocean, while the sea itself they denominated the great 
mother of waters. I suspect, that the shells which they employed on 
such occasions were of an oval form resembling boats : and I am the more 
inclined to this conjecture from the obvious resemblance between the Peruvian 
custom and a parallel one of the Hindoos. In every sacred rite of whatsoever 
description these last constantly use the vessel called Argha, which is an 
avowed copy of the mystic ship Arglia which floated with Siva on the surface 
of the deluge. With a similar reference and in a similar manner, ihe Greeks 
employed their paterae and fashioned their sacred cups in the form of boats. 
Oval or round shells then were the arghas or paterse of the Peruvians : and, 
in what light they considered them, may easily be collected from their stvlinc 
them daughters of the Ocean. They were symbols of that sea-born goddess, 
whom the Greeks and Romans ^\orshipped under the name of Venus or 
Aphrodite ; the Syrians, under that of Atargatis or Derceto ; and the 
Hindoos, under that of Rama-Devi or Lacshmi or Asyotcersa or Parvati or 
Durga. In each case was equally meant the Ark, represented by the ship 
Argha or Argo and by the navicular dish or shell : and hence it is, that the 
Venus-Anadyomen^ is so frequently depicted standing in the midst of a large 
circular shell resembling in form that of a cockle. 

Both the Mexicans and the Peruvians had another custom, which must by 
no means be passed over in silence. Their sacred virgins were wont from 
time to time to prepare certain loaves or cakes for the idol which they vene- 
rated. These were sometimes made in the form of hands and feet, and 
sometimes were so moulded as to imitate tlie shape of the idol himself. 
Such lumps of paste they considered as the bones and flesh of their god. 
They served them up in large golden dishes, which the Hindoos, I presume, 
would have called arghas : and, in the course of the ceremony, they all 
devoutly partook of them. "\V'e may here again trace the palpable identity 
of the American theology and that which prevailed so widely throughout the 
eastern continent. These cakes were evidently of the same nature as those, 
Fag. Idol. VOL. II. 2S 



322 THE ORIGIN or PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

BOOK IT. which the Canaanitish women were accustomed to make in honour of Astoreth 
or the lunar arkite queen of heaven.' A similar custom prevailed both in 
Greece and Egypt. The sacred cakes were called Boiis from their being 
formed with two little horns, so as to imitate the mystic heifer, which was 
at once the symbol of Isis, the Earth, the Ark, and the lunar Crescent. 
They were offered every seventh day to the Moon : and, as the Mexican 
loaf, which was an imitation of the god, was composed of maize moulded 
with honey ; so these sacred cr.kes were made of honey kneaded with fine 
flour.' We may observe, that the loaves of the American devotees were 
solemnly set out before the idol on a table : and precisely in the same man- 
ner, as we learn from St. Jerome, were the cakes, together with wine and 
other victuals, set out on a table before the deities of Egypt. To this prac- 
tice, as he justly observes, Isaiah alludes, when he speaks of certain Jewish 
apostates ; who, forgetting the holy mountain of Jehovah, prepared a table 
for Gad or the Cuthic Ghaut, and who provided a drink-offering for Meni or 
the lunar ]\Ienu.' I may add, that St. Paul clearly refers to the same ancient 
custom, when he points out the utter incompatibility of Christianity and 
Paganism, by asserting, that we cannot consistently drink of the cup of the 
Lord and of tlic cup (that is, the Patera or Argha) of demon-gods, that we 
cannot at once partake of the Lord's table and of the table of hero-divinities.* 
The curious apocryphal story of Bel and the Dragon is evidently founded 
upon the rite now under consideration : and it is vahiable, as presenting an 
apparently faithful picture of the old serpent-worship of the Babylonians. 
.Jeremiah calls the cakes, which were offered to the queen of heaven, Chonim, 
in the singular, Chon. I take it, that this appellation is borrowed from the 
name of Cliimi, which the Egyptians varied into Chon and Gigon or the 
illustrious Chon. They applied the title to the great father, whom the Greeks 
sometimes called Htrcules and sometimes Cronus. The Peruvians had also 
a god denominated Con ; whom they made the offspring of the Sun, and to 

' jtTom. vii. J 8. xliv. 15 — 19. 

* Hcsyth. Lex. Bsuj. Diog. Laert. in vit. Emped. The name of the cake in one of the 
oblique ca?cs is Buiin, or (as the Latins would write it) Run. Hence we have borrowed our 
English word Bun : and from the same pagan source has originated the old popish custom, 
which wesiilJ retain, of selling a sort of consecrated cakes named Buns on good friday. 

' Ibaiahlxv.il. Hitron. Comment, in loc. * 1 Corinth, x. 21. 



THE ORIGIN' OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 3'23 

whom they ascribed the first production of bread and of all things necessary 
to life. They speak indeed of a contest between Con and Pacbicama, which 
may perhaps have some reference to the struggle between Osiris and Tyjjhon : 
but both the character and the origin of these two gods plainly bespeak their 
identity. It will be recollected, that, by the mystic theocrasy of the ancients, 
even Typhun and Osiris were sometimes considered as one deity. 

As the chief god of the Peruvians was the great father adored in the Sun, 
we shall not wonder to find, that, like all the other pagans, they venerated 
a certain divine triad. This was properly composed of the three sons of that 
transmigrating primeval personage, whose production was considered by the 
mysticizing genius of Paganism in the light of a wonderful self-triplication 
of their parent : but, since the great father was revered in the Sun, and since 
in the progress of pantheistic theology the different parts of creation were 
esteemed his different members, the Peruvian triad, like that of the Hindoos, 
was transferred to the Sun and to the elements. Thus, while they worshipped 
an idol named Tangatajiga or Three-in-one, the exact Trimurti of the Hin- 
doos : they likewise multiplied the Sun into three persons, the father Sun, 
the son Sun, and the brother Sun ; and venerated three images of the god of 
the air, considered as presiding in thunder, rain, and snow.' 

XI. Evident traces of the same theological system may be observed also 
in the island of Otaheite : and it is probable, if minute inquiry were made, 
that it would likewise be found to prevail throughout the other islands scat- 
tered in clusters over the vast Pacific ocean. 

When captain Cooke first visited Otaheite, tlie natives venerated a kind of 
sacred chest or ark. The lid of tliis machine, according to the description 
of it which has been given to us, was nicely sewed on, and thatched with 
palm-nut leaves. The ark itself was fixed upon two poles, and supported 
on little arches of Avood very neatly carved. The use of the poles seemed to 
be to remove it from place to place, in the manner of a sedan-chair. At 
one end of it was a square hole : and in the middle of the hole was a ring 
touching the sides but leaving the angles open, so as to form a round hole 

■ Purch. Pil.;r. b. ix. c. 9, 10, U, 12. b. viii. c. 12, 13. Robertson's Hist. olAmer. wl. 
iii. p. 21—34, 200, 201. 



CHAP. IT. 



324 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

liooK IV. within a square one. The first time that Sir Joseph Banks saw this ark, 
the aperture at the end was stopped with a piece of cloth, Avhich he left un- 
touched to avoid giving oft'ence. Probably there was then something Avithin : 
but, when he afterwards examined it, the cloth was taken away, and the 
coffer was found empty. The same machine is noticed in the narrative of 
captain Cooke's last voyage, and some interesting particulars are added. Sir 
Joseph Banks had been informed, that it was called the house of the god: 
but we are now further told, that the name of the god, to whom it was de- 
dicated, was Ooro. The English were not allowed to go near enough to ex- 
amine its mysterious contents : but they learned, that Ooro, or rather a 
symbol supposed to represent him, was concealed within it. This sacred 
repository was made of the twisted fibres of the husk of the cocoa-nut : and 
in form it was somewhat round, but with one end much thicker than the 
other. Captain Cooke and his attendants were present at a sacrifice to Ooro. 
The rite was performed in a Moral, which 'u at once a place of worship 
and of burial. That, where the English witnessed the sacrifice, was the 
principal one in the island ; and its form was that of an obtuse oblong pyra- 
mid with a square area on each side. At a small distance from the end of it 
nearest to the sea was a large scaffold or lofty table, on which the offerings of 
fruit and other vegetables were laid : and by the side of it was a heap of stones 
constituting a rude altar. Here the sacrifices were offered up, which were 
frequently men no less than animals : and here the ark of the god Ooro was 
placed during the performance of the ceremony.' 

Dr. Hawksworth, who arranged for publication the minutes of captain 
Cooke's first voyage, seems to have been struck with the ark of the Otalieiteans 
much in the same manner as Mr. Adair was with the ark of the northern Ame- 
ricans ; for he observes, that the general resemblance between that sacred 
coffer and the Jewish ark of the Lord is remarkable : and he considers it as 
still more remarkable, that it should be called Ezvharre no Eatua or the 
house of the god. I do not wonder at his noticing the resemblance; though 
I think it no proof of the Hebrew origin of the Otaheiteans, any more than of 
the northern Americans. The additional particulars relative to this ark-god, 

' Cooke's First voyage, b. i.e. ?0. Thjrd voyage, b. iii. c. 2. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 385 

afterwards furnished by captain Cooke, shew pretty evidently, that he wa*. ciiAf. iv. 
the great universal father of the gentile world, venerated alike throughout the 
eastern and the western continent. The ark, furnished with staves for the pur- 
pose of being carried by the priests in solemn procession, is the same sacred 
boat, as the Argo of Anitnon or Osiris, the Argha of Siva, and the ark of 
Bacchus, Hu, Ho, and Vitzliputzli. Its square aperture or door, fur- 
nished with an interior ring, is no other than the sacred oracular navel or 
ornpiialus. ' And the god, who was thought to lie concealed within it, is 
that primeval character, whose mystic concealment or aphanism formed so 
prominent a feature in tlie ancient Orgies. It was not however so much tlie 
god himself who was thought to be hidden within the ark, as his symbol or 
representation. What this symbol was, we are not able positively to say;. 
for the Otalieiteans, it appears, were as unwilling to expose the contents of. 
their sacred ark to the eyes of the profane, as the hierophants of the Dionysic 
IVIysteries : but I more than suspect, that it was the very same as that, 
which was inclosed within the ark of Bacchus, and which was so generally- 
esteemed by the pagans the peculiar type of the great father. The name of 
this ark-god was Ooro. Now, though I wish not to build upon etymology;, 
yet, when I observe such decided marks of resemblance between the Ota- 
heitean theology and that of Egypt, I am strongly inclined to conjecture, . 
that this Ooro is the same even in appellation, no less than in character, as 
the Horus of the Egyptians and the Auri of the Hindoos. 

The mode of conducting the worship corresponds with the deity. The- 
scaffold or table, on which were placed the offerings of fruit, is but a copy of 
that table, on which the sacred bovine cakes and drink-offerings were wont 
to be set out to Menu and the lunar queen of heaven : while the obtuse 
pyramid serves to shew, that the Otaheiteans represented the mountain of the 
ship just in the same manner as their idolatrous brethren of Egypt, Hindostan, , 
and Babylonia, 

Their worship of tlie ark-god produced as its natural consequence the 
veneration of a triplicated deity. It seems probable, that the natives have 
recently adapted the titles of this divinity to the doctrine which they have - 

' Respecting the ompbalus more will be said hereafter. Vide infra b. v, c. 4. J III. 



S36 THE OBIGIX OF PAOAK IDOLATRY. 

sooK IV. j-eccived from the Missionaries; who in their turn have been too hasty in 
fancying, that the Otahcitean theology exhibits traces of a primeval belief in 
the Holy Trinity. They have been misled, much in the same manner as 
the fathers were by a specious decoration of the old Orphic triad. If the 
grand outlines of the Otaheitean religion did not afford the best comment on 
its triad, %ve should have a very satisfactory one in the tradition ; that formerly 
a man was born of the sand of the sea, who married his own daughter, and 
by her became the parent of three males and three females. These inter- 
married : and with their descendants the earth was gradually peopled. Tiie 
three sons of him, who, Irke the Indian Menu or Buddha, espoused his 
allegorical daughter, were the true prototypes of the triad of Otaheite. ' 

' Mission. Vqjage tp the south sea. p. 344. 



CHAPTER V. 



Respecting the human character of the great father, as exhibited in 
the Buddhic or Thothic or Hermetic or Samanean theology. 



JL NOW proceed to consider the human character of the great father, as ex- 
hibited in different countries by the adherents of what may be termed the 
Buddhic or Thothic or Hermetic or Samanean superstition. These in some 
parts of the world subsist distinct from the Brahmenists : but in the west they 
appear to have been early blended together. Yet even there we may trace 
the vestiges of two systems ; each of which, as may be argued from its univer- 
sality, must be as old as the dispersion from Babel. 

I. Tn the ninth Indian Avatar Vishnou is said to have appeared in the form 
of Buddha, Boudha, Boudh, or Bouta, as the name is variously expressed 
in our western characters. Buddha therefore is really the same person as 
Vishnou or Bacchus or Osiris. Each is alike the great father both of gods 
and men. Hence the adherents of tlie two primeval superstitions differ not 
so much in the object of their worship, as in the mode of exhibiting that ob- 
ject : and hence again, since the very same person is venerated by each class 
of sectaries, and since consequently in the grand outlines the god of the one- 
must correspond with the god of the other, Me shall not be surprised to find 
in the two systems a strong tendency to amalgamation. This conjmixture 
has actually taken place in the west : and, even in India, however the Brah- 



S28 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV, menists may detest the Buddhists, the orthodoxy of the former is but faintly 
discriminated from the lieterodoxy of the latter ; and Buddhism, as it has 
been justly remarked, melts insensibly into Brahmenisni.' 

1. No part of old mythology is more curious, though in some respects 
more intricate, than the character and worship of Buddha : yet much of this 
intricacy may be unravelled, if we steadily bear in mind that that divinity is 
properly no other than the transmigrating great father ; and if at the same 
time we carefully remember the established gentile doctrine, that the great 
father is repeatedly manifested afresh, not only at the commencement of 
each world, but in the person of every eminent legislator or reformer who 
appears during the continuance of a mundane system. 

The Brahmens say, that the religion of Buddha is heretical ; yet, as we 
have just seen, they represent him as an incarnation of Vishnou : and, in an 
.ancient Sanscrit inscription at Buddha-Gaya, he is celebrated as a portion of 
Narayan, or the being that moved upon the waters ; is invoked as Om ; is 
declared to be the very same as the Hindoo Trimurti, or the triple god 
Brahma- Vishnou-Mahesa ; and is described, like Vishnou, as the divinity, 
who rested upon the face of the milky ocean, and who reposed upon the 
navicular serpent Sesa or Ananta.* Nevertheless he is sometimes said not to 
have been an Avatar of Vishnou : or, if he were an incarnation of that deity, 
we are told, that he ought not to be reckoned among the Avatars, inasmuch 
as he was manifested solely to seduce the people into erroneous doctrines. 
Hence he is considered as the promulgator of an heterodox religion, and his 
votaries are deemed infidels.' Lastly, we find many acknowledging Buddha 
as the ninth Avatar of Vishnou, but maintaining him to be a different person 
from the heretic Buddha ; who is worshipped in Ceylon, Bootan, Thibet, 
China, and the eastern peninsula of Siam and Malaya.* 

In these discordant opinions we may, I think, easily perceive where the 

truth lies. The primeval Buddha is the same as Vishnou, or Siva, or 

Osiris : while the Buddha, who is reprobated as a ha-etic and who is denied 

' by the Brahmenists to be an incarnation of the great father, was a religious 

■ Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 241. * Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 284,, 285. 

• Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 55, bG. vol. viii. p. 532, 533. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. viii. p. 532, 533. 



THE ORICI^f OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 329 

adventurer; wlio assumed the title and character of the god, who claimed to '"*'• *• 
be one of his numerous terrestrial manifestations, and who as such made 
certain obnoxious changes in the old Buddhic theology. To ascertain the 
precise era of this impostor is perhaps no easy matter. Some place him, 
or at least an Avatar of Buddha, about a thousand years before Christ: 
but I am inclined to believe, that the person, whose modification of Buddhism 
gave such offence to the Brahmenists, must have flourished very considerably 
later; for neither Porphyry, nor Strabo, nor Clemens, all of whom mention 
the two great Indian sects, give the least hint of any animosity subsisting 
between them. Agreeably to such an opinion, what is deemed the heresy of 
Buddha is commonly supposed to have been introduced into China no earlier 
than in the course of the first century after Christ.' At any rate, I certainly 
think with Georgi, that the impostor in question was an entirely distinct 
person from the proper and original Buddha. 

Accordingly, whatever might be the era of this pretended Avatar of the 
god, the Buddhists themselves justly insist, that their religion existed from 
the beginning : and, in support of their assertion, we have cogent proofs, 
that at a very remote period it prevailed throughout the whole of Hindostan ; 
or, as we ought rather to say, that it extended itself from the north of Tar- 
tary to Ceylon and from the Indus to Siam, even omitting its establishment 
in the more western parts of Asia and Europe. In many of the countries 
within this ample range it still prevails either wholly or partially : and the 
votaries of Buddha yet continue to flourish throughout China and its tribut- 
ary nations ; in the great empires and states of Cochin-Cliina, Cambodia, 
Siam, Pegu, Ava, Asam, Thibet, Boutan; among many of the Tatar 
tribes, and generally in all regions east of the Ganges ; and throughout most 
of those vast and numerous islands which lie to the east and the south of the 
farther Indian promontory. ' The whole legend of Buddha indeed sufficiently 
proves him to be the great transmigrating father, and thus tends to demon- 
strate the high antiquity of his worship : and, in supposing that some more 
recent impostor assumed his name and character, I suppose nothing but what 
is perfectly consistent vvith the accredited doctrines of Paganism. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 123 — 126. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 591. vol, vii, p. 398 et infra. Moor"s Himl. Panth. p. 240. 

Fag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 T 



330 THE OftlGiN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

tooK IV. Since the principal god of the Buddhists then is the very same person as 
the principal god of the Brahmenists ; we may naturally expect, that these 
contending idolaters will, after all, be separated by only a narrow line of 
demarcation. Accordingly, between the two systems there is so close a 
general resemblance, that there can be no doubt, as IVIr. Joinville lias well 
observed, that the one is the child of the other; and, since genuine Buddhism 
excites the idea of something crude and unformed while Brahmenism wears 
a finished and systematic aspect, I am inclined with him to concede priority 
to the former.' Yet would I carry back the origin of both to the epoch of 
the Babylonian tower; because on no other principle can we satisfactorily 
account for the universal prevalence of both. Buddhism then seems to 
me to be the Jirst coiTuption of Patriarchism, the commencement of what 
Epiphanius calls the Scythic heresy : while Brahmenism is apparently the 
completion and perfection of that heresy. Some of the architects of Babel 
preferred the one : some chose rather to adhere to the other : and some mixed 
the two together. This religious dissention was, if I mistake not, the second- 
ary and subordinate cause of the dispersion, 

2. In the Matsya-Avatar, which relates to the deluge and to the preser- 
vation of Menu-Satyavrata in an ark, Vishnou appears under the form of a 
man issuing out of the mouth of a fish : and he is supposed, when the waters 
abated, to have recovered the sacred books which had been lost. The fish 
itself, we are told, was Maya, by which the Hindoos understood delusion: 
and, as for Satyavrata, he was invested by Narayan in the office of Menu, 
under the name of Sraddadeva or the god of obsequies.'' 

Now circumstantial evidence clearly demonstrates, that, as Buddha is 
avowedly a manifestation of Vishnou, so he is likewise the same person as 
Menu-Satyavrata or Noah. 

A tonjb is shewn at Naulakhi in the country of Cabul, where some very 
ancient hero is supposed to be buried. The Mussulmans call him Peer- 
Maitlam and Maitri-Burkhan, which in the dialect of Samarcand signifies 
the lord and master. The Buddhists say, that he is Buddha Nar ay ana or 
Buddha dwelling in the waters. And the Hindoos, who live in that coun- 
try, call him Machodar-Nath or the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 398 et infra. * Asiat, Res. vol. i. p. 230—234, 239. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUT. 331 

Some fancy, tliat this person was the father of Satyavrata : but, as Mr. °"*'- ''• 
Wilford justly observes, such titles are applicable to Noah alone, not to his 
father Lamech. By the belly of the fish, he tells us, they understand the 
cavity or inside of the Ark; the cetus or large sea-fish being a symbol of 
that vessel. And he adds, that any place in the middle of waters, either 
natural or artificial, which can afford shelter to living beings is called Ma- 
chodara. ' Buddha then, as the sovereign prince in the belly of the fish, is 
certainly Vishnou in the Matsya-Avatar, where that deity appears issuing 
out of the mouth of a fish : and, since a fish was an acknowledged type of the 
Ark, Buddha and Vishnou must equally be the same as Satyavrata or Noah. 
His identity with Menu-Satyavrata further appears from another particular. 
The author of tiie Amaracosha tells us, that he was the son of the lunar god, 
and that he married Ila the daughter of the ark-preserved Menu. * Yet Ila 
was likewise the wife of her own father Menu-Salyavrata. As Satyavrata 
therefore who was saved from the deluge in an ark, and as Buddha who is 
said to have floated upon the waters and to have been inclosed in the belly of 
a fish, are each the husband of Ila ; they must dearly be the same person. 
Buddha being thus fundamentally one with Menu-Satvavrata, we find 
them each bearing the title of Dharmarajah or King of justice; as they 
are each reported to have married Ila, and each to have floated on the waters 
oftheocean.' Hence, in the Sanscrit inscription already referred to, Buddha 
is described, as resting upon the face of the milky sea, and as being Sradda- 
deva or the god of obsequies.* Hence also, in his temple at Oogul-Bodda, 
his colossal image appears to be sleeping on a sort of navicular bed.* And 
hence, when esteemed an incarnation of Vishnou-Narayana; he is depicted 
sitting in the calix of the sacred aquatic lotos. * 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 479, 480. * Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 411. vol. ii. p. 376. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 39. vol. ix. p. 88. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 284 — 286. I conclude him to be Sraddadcva, which is a title of 
Menu-Satyavrata, because the inscription attributes a peculiar efficacy to the performance of 
the Sradda in the temple at Boodha-Gaya, and because under the name of Salivahana he is 
the Charon of Hindoo mythology. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 451. See Plate II. Fig. 2. 

' Maur. Hist, of Hind. vol. ii. p, 480. 



332 THE OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATtlY- 

3. According to an inscription in the Maga language communicated by 
Lord Teignmouth, Buddha was born of Maha-AIaya, the wife of Sootah- 
Dannah Rajah of Cailas. As soon as he saw the light, he was placed by 
Brahma in a golden vessel, and delivered to a female attendant ; but the 
child, alighting from her arms, walked seven paces without assistance. The 
intelligence of his birth was speedily circulated : and a sage, who had re- 
paired to the palace of the Rajah for the purpose of visiting him, wept and 
laughed alternately as soon as he beheld the wonderful infant, because in his 
appearance he divined something both of good and bad import. He then 
departed : but, when five days had elapsed, he assembled four Pandits for 
the purpose of calculating the destiny of the child. Three of them conclud- 
ed, that, as he had marks on his hands resembling a wheel, he would become 
a Rajah-Chacraverti : and a fourth determined, that he would arrive at the 
dignity of Avatar. The boy was now named Sacya : and, when he attained 
tlie age of sixteen years, he espoused the daughter of the Rajah Chuhidan, 
■with w hom he repaired to his own place of residence. One day, as certain 
Mysteries were revealed to him, he formed the design of relinquishing his 
dominions; and accordingly left his palace with only one attendant and a 
horse. He crossed the river Ganga, and arrived at Balucali ; where, having 
directed his servant to leave him and carry away his horse, he laid aside his 
armour. He then adopted the manners and life of a mendicant ; and clothed 
himself with some pieces of wearing apparel, which he discovered in one of 
the five flowers that appeared at the creation of the world. It happened, 
that a traveller passed by and presented to him an offering of eight bundles 
of grass. Sacya accepted the offering, and reposed upon it. Suddenly a 
golden temple appeared, containing a chair of wrought gold. On the sum- 
mit of the temple Brahma alighted, and held a canopy over the head of 
Sacya ; while Indra with a fan in his hand, Naga prince of serpents, and 
the four tutelary deities of the four corners of the universe, attended to do 
him reverence and service. At the same time the chief of the Asoors arrived 
with all his forces to give battle to Sacya : upon which, Brahma, Indra, 
and the other deities, forsook him and vanished. Sacya, perceiving that he 
was left alone, invoked the assistance of the Earth. She attended at his 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 333 

and suddenly brought a mighty deluge over all the ground, by 
which the vanquished Asoor and his forces were compelled to retire. Then 
five holy Scriptures descended from above; and Sacya was dignified with the 
title of Buddha- Avatar.^ 

In the midst of much that is idle and impertinent, it is yet easy to disco- 
ver in the present fable traces of genuine primeval tradition. 

Cailas or Cailasa, where Buddha is said to have been born, is the sacred 
mountain of Indo-Scythic superstition. As Olympus is the seat of Jupiter 
and his kindred divinities : so Cailasa, every splinter of whose rocks is an 
inestimable gem, is the peculiar residence of the diluvian Siva.* It is, in 
fact, one of the three holy peaks of Meru ; which thence is similarly described 
as being the favourite haunt of the mariner of the Argha, and which is cele- 
brated as the birth-place of Deo-Naush or the Indian Bacchus. But the 
prototype of Meru was the Paradisiacal Ararat. 

Maya, we are told, in the Sanscrit signifies Delusion : and we find the 
term applied to the symbolical fish of Vishnou, which makes so conspicuous 
an appearance in the Hindoo history of the deluge. ' Since therefore Maha 
signifies grea^ when' Buddha is said to be the son oi Maha- Maya ^ he is 
in effect said to be the son of the Great Delusion. I am much inclined 
however to suspect, that Delusion is not the original, but only the super- 
added, sense of Maya. The Hindoos themselves inform us in a jargon, 
which has clearly arisen from the doctrine of successive similar mundane 
systems, that by Maya we are to understand the first inclination of the 
godhead to diversify himself by creating worlds : and Sir William Jones was 
told by a Cashmirian, that Maya herself is the mother of universal nature and 
of all the inferior gods.* This exactly agrees with the import of the word 
among the Greeks. Maia properly denotes a grandmother or a great 
mother.' It likewise signifies a nurse : but this I take to be only a secondary 
meaning of the term, arising from the circumstance of a nurse being fre- 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 383 — 386". It is impossible not to observe the general resemblance 

between the manner of this legend and that of many of the old mythological Welsh romances 
produced by Mr. Dav;es. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 248. ' Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 234. 

* Ibid. p. 223. ' Maia, ita.r^oi nou lirir^of fA')ri)f . Hesych. Lex. 



CH.IP. V. 



>;ooK IV. 



334 THE OUfGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

quently addressed among the ancients by the name of mother. Maha-Maya 
then will be equivalent to the great mother : and this gi'eat mother, the 
allegorical parent of Buddha, who is the same as Menu-Satyavrata, who is 
thought to have floated on the ocean, and who is styled the prince in the 
belli/ of the Jish ; this great mother can only be the mundane Ark, the 
Magna Mater of pagan mythology throughout the whole world. How the 
word Maya may have acquired in Sanscrit the sense of Delusion, it is not 
very difficult to conceive : the mode indeed of its introduction into the 
Hindoo history of the deluge seems to account for the circumstance in a 
manner far from unsatisfactory. It is there said, that the appearance of the 
symbolical fish to Menu-Satyavrata was Maya or delusion. By this we must 
evidently understand^ that no fish //^era/Zi/ appeared to him; but that the 
form assumed by Vishnou was purely hieroglyphical, and therefore delusive. 
Now the arkite Maya was represented by a great variety of symbols ; by a 
woman, a cow, a mare, a fish, a sow, and a lunar crescent. Each of these 
was Maya or the Magna Mater : but each of them was likewise mere de- 
lusion. Hence, I apprehend, the word Maya acquired an additional signi- 
fication: but both the history of Buddha, and the remarkable compound 
Maha-Maya or the great Maya, seem equally to lead us to the true pri- 
mitive meaning of the title. It is however of little moment to the main 
question, whether I be right or wrong in this speculation : if Buddha be 
Noah, his mother Maha-Maya, however we are to understand the name, 
must in character, according to the universal analogy of Paganism, be the 
ship Argha or the Ark. 

With such an opinion the remainder of the legend exactly corresponds. 

The golden vessel, in which the new-born Buddha is placed by Brahma, I 
take to have been that sacred navicular dish or cup, which the Hindoos call 
Argha, and which they esteem a copy of the ship of Iswara. 

The alternate joy and sorrow of the sage when he- beheld the infant, be- 
cause in his appearance he divined something both of good and bad import, 
precisely accords with that part of Noah's character which was never for- 
gotten by his descendants. He was the god of destruction to the old world, 
the god of regeneration to the new world : he was the terrific devourer of 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 335 

his children ; yet he was likewise the venerated parent and restorer of man- 
kind. 

The wheels upon the hands of Buddha are those mystic rings or circles, 
which most of the Indian Avatars are depicted as holding. They were alike 
sacred in Britain, Samothrace, and Egypt : and they were considered as re- 
presenting at once the circle of the Universe and the inclosure of the Ark. 
They are types in short of the Ida-vratta on the summit of Meru, whether it 
symbolize the mundane ring, or shadow out what the Druids were wont to 
call the Ark of the TVorld. 

The Mysteries said to have been revealed to Buddha we may reasonably 
conclude to be those astronomico-diluvian Orgies, which were the basis of 
gentile theology. Noah, or the principal arkite deity, was accounted the 
first mystagogue : and each succeeding hierophant assumed his titles^ and 
was deemed his representative. 

But the concluding part of the legend demands our special attention. At 
the moment when Sacya is solemnly inaugurated as Buddha-Avatar, he is 
attacked by the Asoors and their gigantic chief. In this distress the Earth 
assists him ; and, discharging a deluge of water from the central abyss, 
speedily puts his enemies to flight This fable requires but little comment, 
so far as its import is concerned : but it contains much that is interesting in 
the way of comparison and analogy. The Asoors, who are put to flight by 
the deluge, are introduced into the Courma-Avatar as churning the troubled 
ocean with the mountain JVIandar ; while, on the summit of the hill, Vishnou 
is seated in the calix of the liieroglyphical lotos. How this Avatar is imme- 
diately connected with the flood, how Mandar is Ararat, and how Vishnou 
in the lotos is Noah in the Ark, has already been shewn at large : in the le- 
gend of Buddha, these Asoors are literally said to be routed by an inundation, 
which the Earth pours forth against them. 

The legend finally tells us, that, when the Asoors were put to the rout, five 
holy Scriptures descended from above. These are those ancient volumes, 
which the mythology of Paganism so generally supposed to have been pre- 
served at the lime of the flood, and which were thought to have handed down 
to the new world the collective wisdom of the old. Thev are the books, 
which Xisuthrus was feigned to have buried during the prevalence of the 



336 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRr. 

BOOK IV. waters, and which Vishnou is thought to have recovered from the bottom of 
the ocean when the deluge began to abate. They descend trom heaven, be- 
cause they were preserved in the hieroglyphical Moon : just as the egg of 
the Dioscori is said to have dropped from the lunar circle, and as the egg of 
theSyiian Venus is reported to have fallen from heaven into the Euphrates.' 
They are the books, in short, which we generally find introduced into the 
history of the great father, by whatever name he may be celebrated.* 

4. Among the Hindoos the general character of Buddha is that of a mild 
and benevolent prince, who came to abolish the cruelty of sanguinary sacri- 
fices, and to preserve the lives of all animated beings.' 

This notion probably originated from a perversion of the history of Noah. 
The patriarch did not indeed abolish sacrifice ; on the contrary, he offered 
up the first victim after the deluge : but his benevolent character seems to 
correspond with that of Buddha; and, as in one sense he was the undoubted 
preserver of the lives of all creatures, so the Samanfean opinion respecting 
the illegality of shedding blood may perhaps have arisen from a too much 
extended interpretation of the doctrine of the Metempsychosis. At first 
the soul of man was believed only to reappear in the person of man, as 
each new world introduced a perfect repetition of the history of a former 
world : but afterwards, partly from the use of bestial symbols, and partly 
fi-om a notion that the essence of the great father entered into all creation, 
the human soul was thought to experience a penal transmigration through a 
long succession of animal forms. Such an opinion would naturally produce 
a horror of slaughtering the brute creation ; lest haply the limbs of a parent 
should be served up at the table of a son, or a wife perish beneath the blows 
of an unconscious husband. The doctrine in question, and with it the aver- 
sion to the slaying of animals, was brought by Pythagoras out of the east, 
where it took deep root and had long flourished in full luxuriancy.* ' 

II. The Buddhists of Ceylon are the descendants of the continental 

' Athen. Deipnos. lib. ii. p. 5/. Hyg. Fab. 197. 

* Vide supra b. iii. c. 5. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. iy7, 198, 201. Maur. Hist, of Hind. vol. ii. p. 481. 

♦ Ovid. Metam. lib. xv.ver. 153—477. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 337 

Buddhists, who emigrated at the revolution effected by the Brahmenists." 
Tliese, on the old principle of the destruction and reproduction of similar 
Morlds, have imagined no less than twenty two Buddhas, of whom they al- 
lot five for the government of the present world. Four of them have 
already appeared ; and a fifth, like the last Avatar of Vishnou, is thought 
to be yet future. The Buddha, whose religion now prevails in Ceylon, is 
Gautauieh-Buddha. He is the person, who was born of IVIaha-IMaya : 
ponscquently he is the fabled husband of Ila or Argha, the sovereign prince 
in the belly of the arkite fish, and the destroyer of the Asoors by the de- 
luge which the Earth poured out to his assistance.* 

The Buddhists themselves do in effect explain this multiplication of their 
god. The renewal of the world after the deluge, vvith many circumstances 
resembling those which occurred at the commencement of the antediluvian 
vi'orld, led to the belief in a succession of similar mundane systems. At 
the beginning of each appears a Buddha or Menu ; Avhose office it is to re- 
plenish the new world with inhabitants, and who is accounted the universal 
father both of hero-gods and of men. Hence, if we omit the intermediate 
descents of this personage which for the most jart are of uncertain appli- 
cation, we may ultimately reduce all the Buddhas, like all the JNlenus, 
to two; and tliese two are Adam and Noah. 

Gautameh-Buddha ought, I think, evidently to be deemed the latter of 
those patriarchs ; though, as is very commonly the case with gentile tra- 
ditions of Noah, his legend has been erroneously decorated with Enoch's 
translation to heaven. The people of Ceylon have a notion, that before the 
arrival of Gautameh their island was entirely overrun by evil spirits; and 
that, when he became incarnate, he determined to expel them. For this 
purpose he took three voyages to that country : and, having succeeded in 
dislodging them, he planted the mark of his foot on the summit of the sacred 
hill called Adams peak or Sammanelkh-Sree-Pade, and thence ascended to 
heaven. The doctrine however of three other Buddhas had prevailed in 
Ceylon previous to its being overrun by evil spirits : and its occupation by 

• Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 406. * Atiat. Res. toI. vii. p. 32, 33. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 U 



338 THJi OUIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUV. 

i:ooh iv. those malignant demons was the cause of the religion of Gautaraeh being 
there promulgated." 

When we consider the character of this deity as established by other cir- 
cumstances, it will not be very difficult to ascertain the import of the pre- 
sent fiction. In the imagined evil spirits, that occupied Ceylon previous to 
the mystically triplicated voyage of Gautameh and subsequent to the mani- 
festation of the former Buddhas, we recognize the Asoors of the Brahmens, 
the Kharfcsters of the Zend-Avesta, and the Titans of Greek and Egyp- 
tian mythology. They were those wicked antediluvians, that intervened be- 
tween the only two Buddhas whose existence was real and literal. Accord- 
ingly, they are destroyed by a hero-god ; who performs a voyage for the 
express purpose of eradicating them and of introducing his own religion in 
lieu of their impieties, and who at the close of his voyage plants his foot on 
the summit of a lofty mountain ere he is miraculously translated to heaven. 
What we are to understand by the voyage by the mountain, need scarcely 
be pointed out. As Buddha flourished at the period of the deluge, and was 
the husband and navigator of the ship Ila or Argha, the voyage undertaken 
to destroy an impious race can only be the voyage of Noah. Whence it 
will follow, that the mountain, on whose summit he completed his expedi- 
tion, is the local Meru or Paradisiacal Ararat of the Cingalese. 

Agreeably to the prevailing belief in a succession of similar worlds, over 
€ach of which presides a Buddha or Menu, the inhabitants of Ceylon sup- 
pose, that, towards the end of the present mundane system, there will be 
long wars, unheard of crimes, and a portentous diminution of the length 
of human life ; that a terrible rain will then sweep from the face of the earth 
all except a small number of pious persons, who will receive timely notice of 
the evil and thus be enabled to avoid it ; that the wicked, after being 
drowned, will be changed into beasts ; and that ultimately Maitri-Buddha 
will appear and establish a new order of things.* The whole of this is 
palpably a mere repetition of the history of the deluge applied to a yet 
future epoch ; and it serves to confirm the opinion, that the multiplication. 

' Asiat, Res. vol. vii. p. 49, 50- * Asiat. Res, vol, vii. p. 415. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATllV. 339 

both of Buddhas and of worlds has altogether originated from the succession '^'**''' ^' 
of Noah and the Noetic world to Adam and the Adumitic world. 

III. Buddha-Gautameh is acknowledged by the Cingalese to be the same 
divinity as the Somono-Kodom or Pooti-Sat of Siani and Pegu : but they 
contend, that the title Somono-Kodotn ought properly to be written Somono- 
Gautameh.'' Such varieties occur perpetually in tiie orthography of the 
oriental nations. Thus, in the present instance, Sotnono is pronounced either 
Samano or Saman, Suviano or Suman : and thus Gautameh is indifferently 
expressed Gautame or Godama, Kodom or Codum, Codam or Cadam.'' 

Throughout the Burma empire, the temples of Buddha are of a pyramidal 
form : and, like all other buildings of that shape, they are copies of the sa- 
cred mount Mcru or Mienmo; in other words, they are transcripts of 
Ararat.' The statues of the god are sometimes small, but frequently of a 
stupendous size. Dr. Buchanan saw one in old Ava, consisting of a single 
solid block of white marble. It was in a sitting posture : and its fingers he 
guessed to be about the length and thickness of a large man's leg and thigh.* 
There is another of these statues, though l)y no means of equal size, in the 
plain of Virapatnam. Mr. Gentil, who published his travels in the year 
1775, says, that it exactly resembles the Somono-Kodom of the Siamese. 
Its head is of the same form ; it has the same features ; its arms are in the 
same attitude ; and its ears are exactly similar. He made various inquiries 
concerning it : and the answer, which he universally received, was, that it re- 
presented the god Baouth, who was now no longer regarded, since the 
Brahmens had abolished his worship and had made themselves masters of 
the people's faith.' What the French traveller writes Baouth is evidently 
DO other than Bout, Biidh, or Buddha : and the tradition respecting the di- 
vinity seems necessarily to imply, that the worship of Buddha was esta- 
blished in India prior to the superstition of the Brahmenists. Very fre- 
quently however the only representation of Somono-Kodom is a large black 

" Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 38. * Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 413. 

* Symes's Embass. to Ava. vol. ii.p. 110, 183, 222. See Plate III. Fig. 14. 

♦ Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 293, 295, 399. See also Symei's Embass. to Ava. toI. ii. p. 247, 
248. vol. iii. p. 213. and Plate II. Fig. 3. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 169, 



340 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK. IT. stone.' This is sometimes carved with various hieroglyphics, and is said to 
exhibit the impression of his feet : for the Siamese, no less than the Cinga- 
lese, have a notion that the print of his foot was left in their country.* The 
practice of representing Buddha, either by colossal images or by large black- 
stones, is of considerable importance : since it atibrds us two special marks, 
by which we may trace his worship ; a worship however, perpetually melting, 
as it were, into Brahmenism. 

In many of the temples of Somono-Kodom there is a sculptured groupe 
of female figures, exhibiting a princess with her attendants. The princess 
is on her knees, and appears to be offering up her long hair to the deity. 
Respecting the import of this sculpture the Burmas say, that once, when 
Godama was in danger of perishing in a river, he was saved by a princess, 
who threw him a rope made of her long hair.' A circumstance not very 
dissimilar is introduced into the device of several ancient coins, stamped in 
countries which lie far to the west of Siam. On those of Syria, the goddess 
Cybele, or the mountain-born Magna Mater, appears seated upon a rock, 
which rises out of the surrounding ocean. Sometimes a dove is perched 
upon her head : and sometimes the fabulous Centaur, that well-known type 
of the great father, is placed in the same situation. Near her not unfre- 
quently blazes an altar : but a man is universally represented at her feet in 
the midst of the water, imploring that assistance which the goddess from her 
insular rock seems prepared to hold out to him.* From the general history 
and character of Buddha I have little hesitation in concluding, that the two 
legends are fundamentally the same. The supposed princess is the arkite 
Masna Mater resting on the summit of Ararat : and Godama saved from 
the river is the man, whom the Syrian medals exhibit as plunged in the 
ocean and as receiving assistance from the goddess of the rock. 

IV. The high region to the north of India, which comprehends Cash- 
mire, Boutan, Thibet, and Bokhara, was one of the first and most eminent 
settlements of the Buddhic Chusas : and it still retains a spiritual preemi- 

' Maur. Hist, of Hind. vol. ii. p. 481. Ind. Ant. vol. iii. p. 33. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 295. Symes's Embass. vol. ii. p. 183, 197, *98. 
' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 295, 296. 

* Sec several representations of these coins in Bryant's Anal. vol. ii. p. 386. 



THE ORX6IN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 341 

nence, not very dissimilar to that once exercised by the Arabian caliphs or chap. v. 
the Roman pontiffs. 

A<Trceably to the doctrine of successive transmigratory appeai-ances of the 
great father to renovate or to govern or to reform the world, Thibet boasts 
of a living and visible incarnation of Buddha. The name, by which this 
human deity is usually known, is Teeshoo Lama or the priest Teeshoo : and he 
is at once the spiritual and the civil superior of the country. Yet, 
throughout the wide extent of Tartary, there seem to be other pretended 
incarnations of Buddlia, as well as this whicli may be esteemed the para- 
mount. Mr. "Wilford mentions a Brahmen, who had renounced his tribe, 
and resolved to visit the living Fos. In pursuance of this determination, he 
set forth on his travels ; and, in the country of Combo, adored the Lama- 
Combo. Afterwards he proceeded to worship another living Fo, men- 
tioned in Bell's travels, and well known in the northern parts of India by 
the mine of Taranath ; the place of whose residence is marked in the 
maps between the rivers Selinghei and Orgun. This last may be the Tatar 
Fo, noticed by Le Compte ; unless indeed we suppose him to include 
Thibet within the limits of Tartary : which is not improbable, since he 
professes to speak of the most famous seat of the god Fo particularly ve- 
nerated by the Chinese ; a description exactly answering to the living Fo or 
Teeshoo-Laiiia of Thibet, whom the monarch of China acknowledges as his 
ecclesiastical superior and as his great spiritual father.' 

V. The Fo of the Chinese is unquestionably the Buddha of the Hindoos. 
This is evident, both from the circumstance of Moye being said to be the 
mother of Fo, as Maya is the mother of Buddha ; and from the religious re- 
verence paid by the emperor to the Teeshoo- Lama as an incarnation of the 
god Fo : because, since Buddha is the gi'and deity of Boutan and Thibet, 
and since the Lama is adored as the living representative of Buddha ; as he 
is also the living representative of the Chinese Fo, Buddha and Fo must 
l)lainly be tlie same person.* 

' Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 207—220. vol. vi. p. 483, 484. Le Compte's China, p. 332. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 375. When the Chinese deputies to Ava beheld the Burman god 
Buddha-Gaudma, they immediately recognized him as their own national Fo, and worsbippcu 
him accordingly. Symcs's Embassy to Ava. vol. ii.. p. 318. 



34Q THE onioiN OF pagan idolatry. 

1. It is not very difficult to trace the steps, by which the name of 
Biidclha has been transformed into Fo. 

In Boutiin and Thibet the word is pronounced But, Put, Bot, Pot, 
Pout, and Poti; in Cochin-China, But ; and iii Siam, Pout.' Such varia- 
tions are according to those rules of etymology, which prevail more or less 
tliroughout the whole world. B and P, D and T, OU and O and U, are 
severally letters of the same organ, and therefore mutually interchangeable; 
while the final short vowel A or I is indifferently added or omitted, as an 
Italianized mode of enunciation is adopted or rejected. In the vernacular 
dialect of Siam, the word experiences a yet further change : the second 
consonant is quiescent, and Pout or Pot is pronounced Po ; just as the 
French Mot is pronounced MoJ^ When Buddha was expressed by Pot, 
and when Pot by the quiescence of its final consonant was sounded like Po, 
the change from Po into Fo by a nation which could not pronounce the 
letter P was natural and obvious : for F is merely P aspirated ; and the 
sound will be the same, whetiier we write Fo or Pho. From a similar in- 
capacity of pronunciation, the Chinese have converted the Buddhic title 
Amita, which in the Sanscrit denotes Immeasureable, into 0-mi-to ; 
and Maya, the Hindoo name of the god's mother, into Mo-ye? 

2. The religion of Fo or Buddha is said to have been introduced into 
China, subsequently to the Christian era, either from India or Ceylon or 
Thibet ; most probably, I think, from the latter.* Yet I greatly donbt, 
whether it was then introduced for the first time. I am rather inclined to 
believe, that the particular modification of ancient Buddhism, which is 
viewed with such abhorrence by the intolerant Brahmenists, was tlie theo- 
logical system canied at that period into China ; and that the apostle or 
Buddhism thus modified was one, who had assumed the name, and who 
claimed to be an incarnation, of the god ; an imposture perfectly in character 
both with the theory and the practice of gentile mythology. Long before 
the Christian era were the Chinese well acquainted with Fo : and this very 
acquaintance would obviously facilitate the introduction of a system ; which, 

" Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 220. vol. vi. p. 260. * Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 17O. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 374. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 170. vol. vi. p. 262. vol. ix. p. 41. Le Coropte's China, p. 319. 



J THE OHIGIN or PAGAN IDOLATRY. 343 

SO far from being altogether novel, was but a viodification, speciously per- *="*•'• 
haps called a reformation, of the faith inherited from their ancestors. 

Fo, as Sir William Jones well remarks, and as I have already shewn to be 
the case, is unquestionably the Buddha of Hindostan : but the great pro- 
genitor and reputed first emperor of the Chinese is also named by them 
Fo-Hi ; of which compound word the second monosyllable denotes, we are 
told, a Victim.^ Now the history of this primeval Fo, sirnamed Hi or the 
Victim, is such as plainly to shew, that he is the vei^ same character as 
Buddha, and consequently that he is the same as the god Fo; since the 
identity of Fo and Buddha can scarcely be disputed. Hence, unless we un- 
warrantably suppose, that the Chinese new-modelled their history, and 
placed Fo-Hi at the head of it, when, subsequently to the Christian era, they 
first received the religion of Buddha : hence, I say, it necessarily appears to 
follow, that under the name of Fo or Fo-Hi they had venerated Buddha 
from the very commencement of their national existence ; and that it was 
simply a modification of their ancient religion, which they admitted at a later 
period either fiom India or Ceylon or Thibet. 

3. But let us proceed to examine the legend of Fo-Hi. 

This ancient personage is said to have been the first emperor of China t 
and his character sufficiently demonstrates, that he must be referred to the 
age of mythology, not to that of genuine history. With respect to his' 
birth, we are told that his mother was the daughter of Heaven, and that she 
was sirnamed Flozcer- loving. As the nymph was walking alone on the bank 
of a river with a similar name, she suddenly found herself encircled by a 
rainbow. Soon after this she became pregnant : and, at the end of twelve 
years, was delivered of a son radiant as herself; who, among other titles, 
had that of Sui, or Star of the year. That son was Fo-Hi. The Chinese 
add, that he was born in the province of Xeusi ; and that he was manifested 
on the mountains of Chin immediately after that grand division of time, 
which was produced by the deluge. They moreover relate, that he carefully 
bred seven ditferent kinds of animals, which he used to sacrifice to the 

'' Asiat. Res. vol, ii. p. 375^ ■ 



344 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

HOOK IV. gi-cat spiiit of heaven and earth : and they liave a notion, that his body vas 
that of a serpent, wliile his son Shin-Nungh had the licad of an ox.' 

All these particulars serve to identify Fo-Hi with Noah. He is esteemed 
by the Chinese, as by all other ancient nations, the first of their kings. His 
fabled grandfather, Heaven or Uranus or Arhan, is the same person as him- 
self, viewed only in a diftercnt relation to his allegorical mother. That mo- 
ther is the Ark : and she is feigned to have been walking near a river, at the 
time of her conception ; because, as we have repeatedly seen, the holy river 
of each pagan aation was a symbol of the deluge considered as retiring from 
the mountain of the Moon or the paradisiacal Ararat. The flower, from 
which both she and the river were named, I take to have been the lotos. 
The rainbow requires no comment. The twelve years of his mother's 
gestation are twelve revolutions, I apprehend, not of the Sun, but of the 
Moon : they are therefore the twelve months, during which Noah was 
inclosed within the Ark. The title of Star of the year, borne by Fo-Hi, 
brings to our recollection a very common accompaniment of the arkite god 
and goddess. Chiun or Saturn, Astarte, Taschter, and the Dioscori, all had 
their star : and I cannot refrain from thinking il probable, that the idea 
originated from the appearance of a comet at the time of the deluge. The 
seven classes of animals, out of which Fo-Hi was wont to offer sacrifice to 
God, seem plainly to be the clean beasts and birds which Noah was ordered 
to take with him into the Ark by sevens. His title of Victim has apparently a 
mixed relation, partly to his being the first sacrificer, and partly to some 
such story as that w hich the Hindoos tell of their victim Brahma ; a story 
built perhaps on some primeval tradition of the future sacrificial self-devotion 
of the seed of the woman.' And the fabled forms of himself and his my- 
thological son exhibit to us the symbols, under which the great father was 
represented in every quarter of the globe. 

The Chinese further relate of Fo-Hi, that, the Yellow river being wont 
to inundate the whole country, he restrained its destructive overflowings with 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 375, 376. Martin. Hist. Sin. lib. i. p. 21. Le Compte's China, 
p. 313. Couplet. Praef. ad tab. chron. p. 3. 
* Vide supra b. ii. c. 8. S III. 2. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOtATRY. 345 

proper embankments. A similar story is told of the Ganges: and the two 
are not very unlike that of the Egyptian Prometheus and the overflowing of 
the Nile.' I have little doubt but that tlie same event is alluded to in ail 
of them. 

4. Yet it may be said, that, although these matters prove Fo-Hi to be 
Noah, they no further prove him to be the same as Buddha or Fo, than as 
all the other chief gods arc the same person as that deity. That is to say, 
they are all fundamentally the same as Buddha, only because they arc all 
equally the great father. 

As far as I"can judge, Fo-IIi is no less intimately and immediately the 
same as Fo or Buddha, than Gautameh or Sacya or Somono-Kodom : 
whence I infer, that Buddhism must have been the primitive idolatry of 
China, and that the religion introduced subsequent to the Christian era was 
the same as what already existed there, except only that it had undergone 
some novel modification. Let us see then, what arguments can be adduced 
to prove the direct identity of Fo-Hi and Fo, and therefore by necessary 
consequence the direct identity of Fo-Hi and Buddha. 

What will first strike an inquirer is the palpable identity of the two appel- 
lations Fo and Fo-Hi : for tiie only difference between them is this; the 
former is the name of the god in an uiicompoundcd state, while the latter is 
the very same name associated with a word which signifies Victim. Since 
therefore Fo and Fo-Hi are equally Noah, so far as personality is concerned; 
the presun)ption is, that in each case the title Fo is the title Buddha ex- 
pressed agreeably to the Chinese mode of pronunciation. Hence it will 
follow, that the first emperor of China is no other than Buddha both in name 
and in character. But this is not the only argument. The Chinese story of 
the birth of Fo-Hi bears so close a resemblance to one of the Hindoo stories 
of the birth of Buddha, that they must have originated from a cominon 
source. The nymph Rohini, who presides over the fourth lunar mansion, 
was the favourite mistress of Soma or the masculine "eniu s of the Moon. 
One of her titles is Cumudanayaca or She who delights in the xoater-Jlouer : 
and the particular water-flower, from which she takes her title, is a species 

' Abiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 478. Diod. Bibl. lib. i. p. \6. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 X 



346 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

HOOK IV. of \qios that blossoms in the night. Their offspring was Buddha, the sidereal 
regent of the planet Mercury.' Thus it appears, that Fo-IIi and Buddha 
are alike descrihed as the offspring of a nymph celebrated under the appella- 
tion of 77/6 ^owxt-Zowwo- y an arbitrary coincidence, which in itself might 
be deemed sufficient to establish the point of their proper identity. 

5. If then Fo-Hi be in every respect the very same as Buddha, it seems to 
me almost inevitably to follow, that Buddhism in some form must have been 
the religion of China from the very first. 

This will account satisfectorily for the ready acquiescence in what has 
usually been esteemed the earliest introduction of Buddhism into that vast 
empire, an introduction placed after the Christian era: the Chinese did not 
receive a fiew religion, but were only led to embrace certain modifications or 
corruptions of that theology which was already familiar to them. Of the 
particulars indeed of that theology we can glean but little : yet, when we 
consider the evident identity of Fo-Hi and Buddha, I cannot but think it far 
more easy to suppose, that the Chinese, in adopting the superstition of Fo, 
adopted only what they deemed an improvement of their old system ; than 
to believe that a large proportion of a great empire, which prided itself on 
its remote antiquity, was led, in consequence (as it is alledged) of its com- 
mercial intercourse with Hindostan and Ceylon, to reject its primeval reli- 
gion in favour of the religion of foreigners.^ 

" Asiat. Uc>. vol. ii. p. 375, 376. vol. i. p. l6'2. vol. iii. p. 25S. 

* The cxc<'llent Sir William Jones seems plainly to be not a little embarrassed by the hypo- 
thesis of lUulilhism hnngfust introduced into China after the Christian era. 

The importation, says he, of a new religion into China, in the Jirst eentury of our era, 
must lead m, to suppose, that the former system, whatever it was, had been found inadequate to 
the purpose of restraining the great bo(k/ of the people from those offences against conscience 
and virtue, which the civil power could not reach : and it is hardly possitilc, that without such 
'restrictions anii government could long have subsisted with ftlicity ; for no government can 
long subsist without equal justice, and justice cannot be administered without the sanctions of 
religion. 

The inference therefore to be d.rawn from these premises is, that a considerable proportion of 
the Chinese including the governing pov^ers, in the first century of our era, finding the political 
insufficiency of the religion of their fathers, deliberately and philosophically renounced it; 
and that, in hopes of mending the matter, they made the atheistical superstition of tlie later 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 347 

On the Mhole therefore I am inclined to conjecture, that the Cliinesc '^"'*''' 
brought their ancient theology directly from Babel : but that, at a compara- 
tively late period, some one of the Samani^an hierophants assumed the name 
and character of Buddha, and laboured to overset the whole system of the 
Brahmens ; that this produced a struggle and a persecution ; and that the 
persecution drove the modern Buddhists into various distant regions. Such 
an opinion, the latter part of which is adopted by Sir William Jones, seems 
to be confirmed by the assertions of the Brahmens themselves; for the im- 
postor, who new-modelled the Samanean faith, is said to have taken the 
name of Dliarma, which is a title of Buddha : and it undoubtedly reconciles 
a contradiction, which cannot otherwise be very easily accounted for. The 
Brahmens universally speak of the Buddhists with all the malignity of an in- 
tolerant spirit: yet the most orthodox among them consider Buddha himself 
as an Avatar of Vishnou, and esteem him the Trimurti-Om or Brahma- 
Vishnou-Siva united.' 

6. In Cashgar, as we have seen, Buddha is sometimes called ]\Tachodar- 
Nath or the sovereign prince in the belly of the Jish. Whether the Chinese 
have borrowed this precise name does not appear ; but, according to the 
recently-mentioned Brahmen who had abjured his caste, they have a statue 
of the god in that character. It is placed in a temple near the wall of Pekin, 
and worshipped along with Maha Cala or Great Time ; who is the same as 
Iswara, Satyavrata, and Cronus. In one part of the temple is shewn the 
Charan-Pad or the impression of the foot of Datta or Datt-Atreya ; just as 
the Cingalese pretend to exhibit it on the summit of Adam's peak, and the 
Burmas on a large stone covered with hieroglyphics.* Hence it is evitlcnt, 
that Datta is one of the names of Buddha or Somono-Kodom ; because the 
legend of the impressed foot belongs to the history of Buddha. But Datta, 
as Mr. Wilford justly observes and as I shall have occasion hereafter to 

Buddhists the paramount religion of the court and the nation. I can with difficulty belicvt-, 
either the occurrence of so unparallclied a circumstance, or the superior efficacy of an atheist- 
ical system over any other (however bad it might be) to subserve llie purposes of government 
by its action on the consciences of men. Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 376. 

" Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 284, 285. vol. ii. p. 1'23, 12t. vol. Jii. p. iy6. vol. vi. p. 262. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 48'2, 483. 



34S 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 



HOOK IV, 



poiAtout more at large, is clearly the Tat, Taut, or Thoth, of Egypt and 
Phcnicia, 

VI. The religion of Buddha has equally spread itself into Cochin-Ciiina, 
Tonquin, Japan, and the most remote parts of Tartary." 

Japan, like China, is said to have received the religion of Buddha or 
Budsdo subsequent to the Christian era : but I cannot refrain from susi)cct- 
i<ig, that the real mode, in which it was received by the two countries was 
the very same ; that no properly novel theology was imported, but only a 
modijlcation of that ancient superstition to which they had long been pre- 
viously addicted. Ka;mpfer says with much propriety, that, both from the 
affinity of the names and from the similarity of the religion, he has no doubt, 
that the Budsdo or Fo-Tokfe of Japan is the same as the Buddha of Hindos- 
tan.* Sometimes the Japanese call him S'uilca ; which appellation is no other 
than Saca, Sacya, or Xaca, as this common title of Buddha is variously 
expressed : sometimes they designate him by the appellation of Daibod, or 
Deva-Bod, or the divine Buddha : sometimes they call hi in Abbuto or Fa- 
ther Buto : and sometimes again they denominate him Aniita, which is also 
one of his Hindoo titles, by the Chinese pronounced 0-]Mi-To. They 
ascribe to him a holy book, which they suppose to have been brought over 
to Japan on the back of a white horse: they represent him, like the Buddha 
of Ava, by a gigantic figure sitting cross-legged in the calix of the tarate or 
lotos : they suppose him to be the god of the ocean ; whence mariners are 
^vont to tie small coins to a piece of wood and to throw them into tlie sea as 
an offering to him, in order that they may obtain j)ropitious w inds and a safe 
voyaoe : and they esteem hinj, according to the universal persuasion of the 
ancient hierophants, the patron and protector of human souls, deeming him 
more particularly the god and father of those who happily transmigrate from 
this world into the Elysian abodes of the blessed.' 

In Cochin-China, Buddha is multiplied into three divinities, much in the 
same manner as he is said to comprehend in his own person the trij)le god 
Brahma-Vishnou-Siva. This arrangement is by no means uncommon : and 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 263. * Kaeropfer's Japan, book iii. c.6. p. 241. 

' Ibid. p. 247, 243. book v. p. 468, 552, 553. 



TH£ OHIGJN O* PAGAN ICOLATKy. 349 

the triad of Buddha, like all the otlier triads of the Gentiles, relates, as is cw'»p-' 
evident from tlic whole tenor of his history, to the three sons of Noah 
viewed as a reappearance of the three sons of Adam.' 

A^II. The triplication of Buddlia has produced three different sects of 
Buddhists; \vho severally worship their favourite divinity under the names of 
Buddha or Gautama, Jain or J'ma, and Arhan or Mahiman. Of these 
kindred religionists, the votaries of Buddha, by whom we are to understand 
(I appreliend) the i)roper Buddhists, are found in Thibet and other vast I'c- 
gions to the north and east of it : the followers of Jain are chiefly dispersed 
on the borders of Hindostan : and the adherents of Arhan, who are said to 
have been once the most powerful of the three, now principally reside in 
Siam and other kingdoms of the eastern peninsula. * There is sufficient 
proof however, that Jain and Arhan are ultimately the same as Buddha, 
just as Brahma and Vishnou are ultimately the same as Siva : and the three 
viewed conjointly form that triad of great gods, which was thought to be 
produced by the mysterious self-triplication of the universal father.' 

VIII. Many are the titles, by which Buddha is known to his votaries. 
An enumeration of them may prove useful in further discussing the present 
subject. 

1. His special name Buddha is variously pronounced and expressed 
Boudh, Bod, Bot, But, Bad, Budd, Buddou, Boutta, Bota, Budsdo, 
Pot, Pout, Pota, Pot I, and Pouti. The Siamese make the final T or D 
quiescent, and sound the word Po : whence, as we have seen, the Chinese 
still further vary it to Pho or Fo. In the Tamulic dialect, the name is pro- 
nounced Podcn or Pooden : whence the city, which once contained the tem- 
ple of Sumnaut or Suinan-Nath, is called Patttn-Sumnaut. Tiie broad 
sound of the U or Ou or Oo passes in the variation Patten into J, pro- 
nounced Ah or Au : and, in a similar manner, when the P is sounded B, 
we meet w ith Bad, Bat, and Bhal. All these are in fact no niore than a 



' Asiat. Res. vol. vi, p. 263. ' Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 195, 201. 

' On this point, see Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 248, 285. vol. ii. p. 122, 369 — 376. vol. iii. p. 51, 
193, 195, 196, 201. vol. vi. p. 295, 463, 483, 525—530. vol. vii. p. 414. vol. viii. p. 305, 
320, 360. vol. ix. p. 143. 145, 173, 210—217, 222, 256, 259, 264, 272, 280, 281. Moors 
Hind. Pamh. p. 223, 237, 253, 256. 



350 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. linslntT of chanofcs on the connate letters B and P, T and D ' — Another of 
his names is Suman, which is varied into Somon, Somono, Samana, Suman- 
X(it/i, and Sarmatut. From this was borrowed the sectarian appellation of 
Sumanbans ov Sannaneans'' — A third is Gautama; which is indifferently 
expressed Gautameh, Godama, Godam, Codain, Cadam, Cardam and 
Cardama. This perpetually occurs in composition with the last, as SoiJiono- 
Codom or Samana-Gautama ' — A fourth is Saca, Sacya, Siaka, Sliaka, 
Xaca, Xaca-AIuni or Saca-Menii, and Kia which is the uncompounded 
form of Sa-Kia* — A fifth is Dherma, or Dhanna, or Dheniia- Rajah ' — 
A sixth is Hermias, Her-Moye, or Heri-Maya^ — A seventh is Dalta, 
Batt-Atreya, That-Daliia, Date, Tat or Tot, Deva-Tat or Dcva- 
Txvashta ' — An eighth is Jain, Jina, Chin, Jain-Deo, Chin-Deo, or Jain- 
Eswar^ — A ninth is Jrhan^ — A tenth is Mahi-Man, Mai-Man, or (if 
Om be added) Mai-Man-Om^° — An eleventh is Alin-Eswara, formed by the 
same title Min or 3 fan or Menu joined to Eszvara" —A twelfth is Gomat 
or Gomat' Esivara " — A thirteenth, when he is considered as Eswara or Siva, 
is Ma-Esa or Har-Esa ; that is to say, tht great Esa or the lord Esa '' — 
A fourteenth is Dagon or Dagun or Dak-Po'* — A fifteenth is Tara-Naih'^ 
— And a sixteenth is Arca-Bandhu or Kinsman of the Sun.'^ 

£. Among the ancients, it was a common practice for the ministers of a 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p.260, 262. vol, ix. p. 220. vol. i. p. l62, l63, l66, l6r, 170. vol. 
vii. p. 32, 398. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 38,413. 

» Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 38, 413, 414. vol. iii. p. 199- vol. vi. p. 259. 

♦ Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 123. vol. vi. p. 262, 263. Kaempfcr's Japan, p. 247. Hamilton s 
account of East-Ind. vol.ii. p. 57. 

5 Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. S3, vol. vii. p. 39- vol. vi. p. 264. 

' Comp. Asiiit. Res. vol. ix. p. 212, 215. 

» Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 483, 263. vol. v. p. 26l. vol. x. p. Sg. 

» Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 143, 303, 272, 280, 259- vol. vi. p. 526. 

9 Comp. Asiat. Res. vol. vii. p. 414. vol. vi. p. 295, 483. vol. viii. p. 305. vol. iii. p. 195, 
196. 

■° Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 195, 201. " Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 256. 

'^ Moor's Hind. Panth. p. 253, 256. " Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 284, 285. 

■♦ Hamilton's account of Ea»t-Ind. vol. ii. p. 57- Symes's Embass. to Ava. vol. ii. p. 110. 
Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 124. " Asiat. Res. vol. ii, p. 124. 



IS 



THE ORIGTK OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 351 

god to call themselves by the name of the deity whom they venerated. Such *^''^''' ^• 
accordingly was the mode of distinction, which the votaries of Brahme and 
of Buddha adopted, probably from very remote antiquity. As the Sama- 
n^ans confessedly derived tlieir title from Samana or Buddha ; so it is most 
natural to conclude, that tlie Brahmens or Brachmans borrowed their appel- 
lation from Brahme, the parent of their Trimurti Brahma-Vishnou-Siva. 
Tliese two sects are mentioned by more than one of the Greek writers : and 
we are told, that Samana or Somona is still the name, by which the god, 
the priests of the god, and thence the whole body of the Buddhists, are alike 
distinguished.' 

Porpliyry does not seem to have been aware of any such rivalship and 
animosity, as that which subsists between the present Brahmenists and 
Buddhists ; for he speaks of the Brachmans and Samanfeans as being only 
two sects of those Indian divines, whom the Greeks were wont jointly to 
designate by the common appellation of Gymnosophists. Hence, as I have 
already observed, it may be doubted, whether the impostor, who introduced 
into the ancient Buddhic theology those alterations which made it so obnox- 
ious to the Brahmenists, flourished earlier than the first century after the 
Christian era. Porphyry appears also, in some measure, to have confounded 
the Saman^ans with those enthusiastic devotees, who are now called Sany- 
assis ; wliile j-et his account of the Brahmens is curiously accurate/ 

Much the same remaik applies to the account, which Strabo gives of these 
two sects. He truly observes, that the system of the Brachmans was more 
orderly and coherent than that of the Samantans : and he describes the 
latter, whom with a slight variation he denominates Germanes, as leading an 
eremetical life in the woods and as voluntarily submitting to the most painful 
austerities.' 

Clemens Alexandrinus, though he also makes a certain branch of the 
Samaneans or (as he calls them) Sarmaneans to be plainly the same as the 
modern Sanyassis, distinguishes them from the Brahmens with a much 
greater degree of precision than Porphyry : for, after he has said, like that 

• Asial. Res. vol. vi. p. 274, C.iO. ' * Torphyr. de abslin. lib. iv. § \J. 

' Strab. Geog. lib, .\v. p. 712, 713, 714. 



3o2 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

COOK IV. author, that the Brahmens and Saiinantians are two sects of Gyinnosopliists, 
he adds, that the latter obey the precepts of Butta, whom on account of his 
holiness they venerate as a god.' Neitlier Strabo nor Clemens, any more 
than Porphyry, give the least intimation that the two sects were then hostile 
to each other. 

IX. The liigh country of Cashgar, Boutan, Thibet, and Bokhara, which 
has been shewn to be the proper geographical INIeru both of the Brahmenists 
and the Buddhists, was one of the chief settlements of the Chusas or Scuths, 
and therefore one of the principal and earliest seats of the unmixed super- 
stition of Buddha, to which that great family was ever peculiarly devoted. 
Yet it was not absolutely the cradle of the Saman^an theology. The 
primeval empire of Ximrod and the Cushim comprehended tlie central part 
of that fertile region; which, when viewed at its greatest extent, was still 
denominated Ircin or Cusha-ihvip within : and the mountaineers of Persia, 
to which the name of Iran seems more peculiarly to belong, were evidently 
of Scuthic extraction. Hence, as both Brahmenism and Buddhism branched 
out from Babylonia to every quarter of the globe, and as the long-lived 
Cuthic empire was the earliest empire of Iran, we may expect to find a 
large intermixture of Buddhism in the old Persic theology.^ 

* Such, I am persuaded is the meaning of Clemens, though his language is somewhat ambi- 
guous, so far as the idiom is concerned. I subjoin the passage. 

Airrov Se ro-jtuiv ro ysvo;- oi u.iv 'S.a.^fj.ot.va.i a.uTwv, o'l ie Boxyy.a.vo'.i, ■^aXouij.evoi. Kai 
rujv '^a.^jj.avuiv oi AWo^tot ■n^otra.yo^euoy.iyoi ours it'j'Aai; Oixouiriy, wri c-riya.; sy^ova-tv, isv- 
S^vjv is ai>.<pie-/yiiyrat ipXoms, J^a' axjoJfua vnwvrai, xat vSmo rai; X^?"^' "'*>'<'"<'■"'■ '" yoi.iJ.CiY, 
eu ■rca.ihvaiia.v, laacrtv, wtvs^ o! vyy EyjtjarvjTai xa\ovjj.svor Eicri Sa tujv IvSwv oi roij Bourra 
irsiSoy-Bvoi Tta.oa.yyihij.cx.inv, oV h' Jiref/SoArjv (r£p.yorijrof £ij Oeoj' TErt/xijxao-*. Clem. Alex. 
Strom, lib. i. p. 305. 

Some have supposed, that, after speaking of the Brachmans and the Sarman^ans, Clemens 
insinuates, that, besides these, there are certain of the Indians who venerate Buddha; thus 
in eflfect saying, that the Brachmans and the Sarman^ans did not worship Buddha. But, when 
we consider that Samaiia is a name of Buddha and that his votaries are still called Samana 
or Samandans, it seems also necessary to conclude, that the Samaiieans or Sannaneans of 
Porphyry and Clemens are the same as the modern Samana; and consequently, that the 
clause Btcn is tmv Iviwv ought to be rendered these are they of the Indians, not there are also 
some of the Indians. 

* Vide infra book vi. c. 2. 



THE OUIOtW OF PAGAN IDOLATKY. 353 

From tlie earliesttim.es, Bactria or Bokhara was closely connected with cha.p. v, 
the hiffh lands of Persia : for the inhabitants of each district were descended 
from tlie same enterprizing race ; and Zoroaster himself, the great prophet 
of Iran, is most commonly said to have resided in the lofty region of 
Bactria, which was likewise the favourite haunt of the Magi. But Zo- 
roaster and Buddha are equally Noah : and the Magi seem clearly to be the 
same race as the Buddhic Maghas or Moghas of Magadha ; who derive their 
name from Maga the grandson of Twashta, and among whom Buddha, 
whom we must identify both with Maga and Twashta, is feigned to have been 
born.' Accordingly, both Cyril and Clemens Alexandrinus agree in telling 
us, that the Samanfeans were the sacerdotal order both in Bactria and in 
Persia.* But the Samaneans were the priests of Saman or Buddha ; and it 
is well known, that the sacerdotal class of Bactria and Persia were tlie 
Magi : therefore the Magi and the Samaneans must have been the same ; 
and consequently Buddha or Maga or Saman must have been venerated in 
those regions. 

With this conclusion, the mythologic history of the Zend-Avesta, which 
I have before had occasion to discuss, will be found in perfect accordance. 
The name of the most ancient bull, that was united with the first man 
Key-Umursh, is said to have been Aboudad. But Aboudad, like the 
Abbuto of the Japanese, is plainly- nothing more than Ab-Boud-Dat or 
father Buddh-Datta. This Aboudad is the first Buddha or Adam, who is 
described as being prior in time to Buddha-Gautama or Noah : for he is 
succeeded by a second man-bull, named Taschter, who flourishes with three 
subordinate coadjutors at the period of the deluge. 

Nor is this the only proof of the Buddhism of the ancient Persians. 
According to the Dabistan of Mohsan, they held, that the first monarch of 
Iran and of the whole world was Mahaba(^ ; that Mahabad divided the 
people into four orders, the religious, the military, the commercial, and the 
servile ; that he received from the creator a sacred book in a heavenly lan- 
guage ; and that there either had been or would be fourteen Mahabads 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ix. p. 32, 74, 80. 

* Cyril. Oper. vol, ii. p. 133. Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. i. p. 305. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 Y 



354 THE OIUGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

i-.ooK IV. apparent at different intervals. Sir William Jones remarks, that the name 
Mahabad is Sanscrit, and that the person so called is indisputably the same 
as Menu. He is, I believe, perfectly right in his opinion: iov Malta- Bad 
is the great Buddh ; and the fourteen Mahabads are the fourteen Menus, of 
whom the principal are Menu-Swayambhuva or Adam and Menu-Satyav- 
rata or Noah.' 

Agreeably to the usual practice of calling the priests after the names of their 
gods, as the ministers of Saman or Maga were in Persia and Bactria generally 
denominated Sa^natieans or Magas ; so the head of the hierarchy, as the 
immediate representative of the great father who was ever esteemed the prim- 
eval Maga or Druid, assumed the loftier title of Eas-Bad or Mu-Bad, 
v/\i\ch ditnoie?, the chief or the great Buddha.* 

X. From the same elevated region of Cashgar and Bokhara and northern 
Persia, which coincides with the tract denominated by the classical writers 
the Ifidian Caucasus, a large colony of those, whom the Hindoos call Sacas 
or Sacasenas and Chusas or Cushas, gradually penetrated into Europe, 
where their descendants have been known in more modern times by the 
names of Saxons and Goths. These are the progeny of those warlike 
oriental tribes ; which, in the course of their westward progress from upper 
India, the Greeks celebrated under the appellation of Sacce and Scuths, and 
which in due time were destined to subvert the Roman empire and to found 
a republic of independent states upon its ruins.' 

1 . As the Goths and Saxons then emigrated from the Indian Caucasus, 
and as the Scaldic traditions of their descendants positively declare the wor- 
ship of their god Woden to have been brought into Europe by a colony of 
Asae or Asiatics : it seems impossible not to conclude, that Woden was the 
identical divinity, whom their ancestors had venerated while yet occupying 
their original settlements in the east. But that divinity was certainly 
Buddha : for Buddha has ever been the god of the Chusas of mount Meru. 



» Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 58 — 60. 

* See Vallance/s Vindic. apud Collect, de reb. Hibern. vol. iv. numb. 14. p. 429, 457. 

* Sefebelow book vi. c. 4 .§ II. 



Tlir. ORIGIN- OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 3.5.5 

We are compelled therefore to believe even a priori, that Buddha and Woden *"*''• ^' 
are the same deity, and consequently that the theology of the Gothic and 
Saxon tribes was a modification of Buddhism. 

To this conclusion it may naturally be objected, that the character of the 
ferocious and military Woden bears no great resemblance to that of the mild 
and philosophic Buddha whose religion prohibits the shedding even of animal 
blood. 

Such an objection, however plausible, admits of a sufficiently easy an- 
swer. In the first place, I know not why we are bound to suppose that the 
very ancient theology of the Buddhists was akvays distinguished by its present 
characteristics : on the contrary, it seems probable, that those characteristics 
were imposed upon it at a comparatively late period.' And, in the second 
place, even if we admit that the Buddhic theology was always a theology ' 
abhorrent of blood ; yet, that the military tribes of Cuthic extraction in the 
course of a long period of erratic warfare should have transformed the mild 
Indian deity into the god of battles, is nothing more than might have been 
obviously anticipated from their peculiar circumstances. Superstition ever 
adapts its divinities to its own favourite pursuits : and the same humour, 
which led the Christian Goths of Europe to venerate St. James and St. 
Dennis and St. George as accomplished cavaliers, would induce their ad- 
venturous pagan ancestors to worship the blood-abhorrent Sacya under the 
new but more appropriate character of the sanguinary Woden. Different 
in short, as these two deities may now appear in the creed of a Hindoo 
Buddhist and in that of a Gothic chieftain, there is yet sufficient evidence to 
I)rove that they are one god both in name and in person. 

2. With respect to name, JVod ov Vod\s a mere variation of Bod ; and 
ff''oden is simply the Tamulic niode of pronouncing Buddha : for, in that 
mode of enunciation, Buddha is expressed Pooden or Podeti ; and Poden is 
undoubtedly the same word as J^oden or Ifodcn.'' Sir William Jones, ac- 

' On this supposition however, it must have been imposed previous to the days of Pytha- 
goras : because the system of tluit philosopher is palpably a modification of blood-abhorring 
Buddliism. 

* Vide supra, book iv. c. 5. § VIII. 1, 



366 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

r.ooK IV. cordingly, hesitates not to identify the Gothic Woden with the Indo-Scythic 
Buddha : and, so far as I can judge, he is perfectly right in his decision.' 

3. But etymology, though an useful auxiliary,, can never in itse/f he 
deemed. sufficient to establish a matter of fact: we must therefore inquire, 
whether the person as well as the name of Buddha can be shewn to cor- 
respond with that of Woden, however in one characteristic the two gods 
may differ from each other. This will lead nie to touch upon the history of 
the Scandinavian divinity in connection with that of the Cuthic Buddha. 

The Buddha of the east is ascribed to the time of the deluge ; is viewed 
as a triplicated divinity ; and is said to have overwhelmed the Asoors by 
means of a prodigious inundation, which the Earth poured forth from the 
central abyss. In a similar manner it was supposed by the Scythian 
mythologists, that the whole impious race of the giants perished in a mighty 
flood, except one who escaped in his bark ; that, at this period, a vast cow 
was produced; and that from the cow was born Bure, the father of Bore, 
who begat three sons Woden and Vile and Ve.' The names of Bure and 
Bore are so evidenriy the same, that we need not scruple to identify the two 
persons who respectively bear them. Hence the purport of the legend will 
be, that, at the epoch of the general deluge, a patriarch and his three sons, 
afterwards worshipped as the great gods of the Gentiles, were born from an 
immense ship which all nations agreed to symbolize by a cow. 

In the oriental mythology, Buddha is acknowledged to be the same charac- 
ter as Menu-Satyavrata, and is said to have married Ila the daughter of that 
personage, that is to say, his own daughter : whence Ila is reputed to have 
been the consort of her own father Menu. The import of this legend has 
already been considered ; and we find something similar to it in the fabulous 
history of Woden. That divinity is the .'son of him who was born from the 

' .Asiat. Res. vol. ). p. 425. 

' Edda Fab. iii. Bore and his triple offspring are the same pcrsonnges as that Mannus and 
his three sons, who were venerated in the time of" Tacitus by the Scuthic Germans. Man- 
nus is said to have been the offspring of Tuisto, the child of the Earth. I need scarcely 
observe, that Mannus is Menu or Noah, and that Tuisto is the elder Tuut or Adam. Tacit, 
de mor. Germ. § 2. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGANf IDOLATUY. 357 

Symbolical cow ; and he is also described as being the husband of the chap. v. 
goddess Frea. Now, in exact accordance with those mythological notions 
Mhich so widely prevailed relative to a certain mystic intercommunion 
between the Earth and the Ark ; as the word Ida or Ila denotes the Earth 
or the JVorld, as the goddess who bears that appellation is the same 
personage as the ship Argha, and as she is at once the m ife and the daughter 
of Buddha or Menu : so Frea was by the Goths denominated the mother 
Earth and the mother of the gods, and was supposed to be the offspring no 
less tlian the consort of Woden.' The very name indeed of Ida was 
perfectly well known to our Scythian ancestors, as niight naturally be 
expected from their eastern extraction : for, if the Hindoos call the circular 
top of their holy hill Ida-^ratta, the Goths equally bestowed the appellation 
of Ida on the higli central plain which was thought to be tenanted by their 
diluvian hero-gods.* 

Considered as Menu-Satyavrata, Buddha is Sraddadeva or the god of 
obsequies ;. and, as such, he is represented under the name of Nara-vahajia, 
as the conveyer of souls in a large vessel, over the infernal river.' The 
character of Woden is not dissimilar. He was thought to receive the souls 
of those who bravely perished in battle, and in conjunction with his consort 
Frea to conduct them to the mansions of the blessed.' He was also feigned 
to have himself descended into Hades, and thence to have returned in safety 
and triumph.* In short, according to the general notion entertained of the 
arkite god, he was plainly esteemed a Stygian or infernal deity. 

Buddha is described, as being the inventor of letters, as the conveyer of 
knowledge, and as the person who received a sacred book from heaven 
which he communicated to mankind. In like manner Woden appears, not 
only as the god of war, but likewise as the god of literature. To him is 
attributed the discovery of the Runic characters : and he is reported to have 
been eminently skilled in the art of writing, as well for the common pur- 
poses of life, as for the operations of magic. Hence an ancient Gothic 
poet, cited by Bartholin, speaks of the Runes as being /e/?cr* which the 

' Edda. Fab. v. * Edda. Fab. vii. ^ Asiat. Ucs. vol. ix. p. 173. 

♦ Mallet's Noith. Ant. c. vi. p. 89, <)4. ' Ibid. vol. ii. p. 220, 221. 



358 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

BOOK IV. great ancient traced, •which the gods cot7?posed, which Woden the sovereign 
of the gods engraved. ' 

The eastern Buddhists sometimes gave a horse to their deity : for that 
animal was early and very widely adopted, as one of the sacred arkite 
symbols ; whence originated the many fables of the great father and mother 
assuming the forms of a horse and a mare. Thus the Japanese have a 
temple of Buddha, which they call the temple of the white horse ; because 
the holy book of their god is supposed to have been brought over on an 
animal of that colour.' The Gothic Buddhists, in a similar manner, 
ascribed a wonderful horse to Woden. It had eight legs : and it was pro- 
duced, when the gods were in great danger from the attacks of those impious 
giants who were swept away by the deluge. Mounted on this horse, Woden, 
the father of inchantments, descended into the infernal regions ; and was 
reconveyed by him to light and life from the drear abode of Hela.' The 
horse of Woden, like the horse of the Japanese Budsdo, was, I have no 
doubt, what the old Scandinavians were wont to call a horse of the sea, by 
which they meant a ship : and that ship was the Ark or the Ceres-Hippa of 
Greek and British mythology. Nor did the Gothic hierophants shadow out 
the primeval vessel solely under hieroglyphics : we find that same direct and 
literal allusion to it, which occurs so perpetually in the superstition of the 
Gentiles. As the Egyptians depicted their hero-gods, not standing on dry 
land, but sailing together in a ship; and as Buddha under the name of 
Iswara floated on the surface of the deluge in the ship Argha, and under 
the name of Menu-Satyavrata was preserved in an ark when the rest of 
mankind perished by w ater : so the Goths assigned to their deities, of 

' Mallet's North. Ant. c. xiii. p. 371, 372. 

' Kaempfer's Japan, p. 247. 

^ Edda. Fab. xxi, iv. Bartholin, lib. iii. c. 2. apud Mallet, vol. ii. p. 220. From the co- 
lour of the horse of Woden or Buddha, as it is still emblazoned in the arms of Saxony, I 
conclude, that in ihe west as well as in the east it was thought to be ■white. A similar inference 
may be drawn from the stupendous representation of the same mystic animal in the English 
vale of Ihe while horse. Mr. Gray, in his beautiful poetical translation of the descent of 
Woden speaks of this horse as being coal-black : but the t-pithet is entirely his own addition ; 
the origiuaJ, as preserved by Bartholin, does not define the colour. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 359 

whom Woden was chief, a wonderful ship, which with ease contained them *^'''^''' ^ • 
all when completely armed, and which never failed to be wafted by a fa- 
vourable wind to the place of its destination.' 

There are yet two other points of coincidence between Buddha and 
Woden ; which, as they are both purely of an arbitrary nature, carry with 
them the greater weight of evidence. 

Nothing more singularly marks the superstition of Buddha, than a belief 
that the deity left in various quarters of the globe impressions of his gigantic 
foot. He is said to have travelled into very remote countries, and generally 
to have bequeathed to his votaries one of these sacred marks. Thus his 
footstep is shewn by the Cingalese on the top of Adam's peak, by the Siamese 
of the Burma empire on a large stone covered with hieroglyphics, by the 
Chinese in the temple of Machodar-Nath, by the Arabs on a stone at 
Mecca: in short, numerous are the temples of Buddha, in which the 
priests exhibit an ill-formed impression of the holy foot.' This piece of 
superstition was not forgotten by the Goths in their progress westward. 
Herodotus concludes his curious account of the ancient Scythians by in- 
forming us, that near the river Tyras or Dneister they shewed an impression 
of the foot of Hercules. It was cut in a rock, and resembled the footstep of 
a man : but its size was gigantic, for it was no less than two cubits in length.* 
This Gothic Hercules was undoubtedly the Cuthic Buddha, metamorphosed 
into the god of military prowess, and venerated under the name of JFoden, 

The identity of the two divinities appears also from another point of ar- 
bitrary coincidence. In the east, Buddha gives his name to the fourth day 
of the week, which from him is called Bhood-TFar : in the west, Woden has 

' Edtla. Fab. xxii. 

* Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 295, 483. vol. vii, p. 414. vol. viii. p. 305. Symes's Embass. to 
Ava. vol. ii. p. 183, 197, 198. 

' Herod. Hist. lib. iv. c. 82. Mr. Wilford says, that the people of the country, where this 
footstep of Hercules was shewn, were certainly Buddhists, and that their high-priest who 
resided on mount Gocajon at present named Casjon was believed to be regenerate, exactly 
like the Lama of Thibet. Asiat. Res. vol. iii. p. 196. If this assertion be well-founded, it 
would indeed establish the point of the Scuths being Buddhists, which may reasonably be 
concluded in the way of argument and induction. 



860 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. communicated his name to the very same day, which by all the Gothic 
nations that have eminently retained the language of their ancestors is 
designated by an appellation similar to the English Wednesday.'' 

Thus, I think, there is sufficient evidence, that the religion of the Goths 
or Scythians was originally pure Buddhism, that Woden is the same as 
Buddha, and that the religion was corrupted and the character of the god 
in some measure altered during their progress westward precisely in such a 
manner as might be expected from a warlike and roving people. Whether 
they migrated literally under the command of a chieftain or succession of 
chieftains, who assumed the title and claimed to be incarnations of Buddha, 
or figuratively under the supposed protection of the hero-god of their fathers; 
is a question, which at this distance of time cannot be positively determined. 
The genius of Buddhism renders the first supposition by no means impro- 
bable : at least I think, that Mr. Pinkerton is far too positive in his mode 
of advocating the second.' 

XI. The Buddhism of the Goths will explain a point of considerable 
difficulty, in ancient mythology. 

The religion of the Celts, as professed in Gaul and Britain, is palpably 
the same as that of the Hindoos and Egyptians ; the same also as that of 
the Canaanites, the Phrygians, the Greeks, and the Romans : but the reli- 
gion of the Goths, whose tribes previous to their final establishment in the 
western empire spread themselves irregularly over the countries which 
intervene between the north of Hindostan and the eastern boundary of 
Europe, is manifestly of a very different school ; though the same hero- 
divinities, the great father and the great mother, are equally venerated 
under each system. Now the wonder is, that the Britons and the Hindoos 
at the two extremities of the line should have adopted the very same super- 
stition, and should have been theologically united at some remote period by 

" Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 162. vol. iii. p. .562. Maurice's Hist, of Hind. vol. ii. p. 481. The 
fourth day of the week, the Bhuod-War of Hindostan, is called in Icelandic Wonsdug, in 
Swedish Odinsdag, in low Dutch IFoensdag, in Anglo-Saxon Wodensdag, and in modern 
English Wednesday ; that is to say, <Ae day of Woden or Odin. Junii Etymol. Anglic, 
fol. 1748. 

* Pinkerton's Dissert, on the Goths, p. ISO, 181. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 36l 

a very frequent intercourse ; and yet that the Scuths, who occupied the ' 
middle of the line and who therefore intervened between those two nations, 
should have professed a religion of a materially different contexture.' 

The preceding discussion will in some measure account for the circum- 
stance. Those tribes, that either remained in Babylonia or that emigrated 
from it in a mixed state, chiefly advocated the Brahmenical system : while 
those, that retired from Shinar in an unmixed state, preferred the more 
simple theology of Buddha. Now the mixed tribes were universally so 
mixed, by being under the rule of a Cuthic priesthood and nobility : and 
the unmixed tribes were altogether composed of certain Cuthim or Scuthim, 
who under some impressions of disgust had separated themselves from their 
brethren. The Celts then and the Hindoos, being equally mixed tribes, 
professed the same mode of religion : while the unmixed Goths or Cuths, 
being descended from a race of pure and genuine Buddhists, pertinaciously 
refused to abandon the peculiar theology of their forefathers. Yet, since 
the military and sacerdotal castes both of India and of Britain were of the 
same great Cuthic family as themselves, they freely allowed the passage of 
devout pilgrims whom they recognized as their brethren by a common 
descent from one patriarchal ancestor.* 

1. The Goths then brought with them into Europe pure Buddhism; that 
is to say, pure so far as it was unblended with the peculiarities of Brah- 
menisra : but, what shews the very great antiquity of the former mode of 
worship, they found it already established among the Celts whom they at 
length drove to the utmost extremities of the west ; though established in 
that mingled form, in which it was perhaps universally carried off" by the 
Brahmenical theologists. 

The Gauls venerated with human sacrilices Teutates and Hesus and Ta- 
ranis.' But the Celtic Teutates is clearly the same as the Gothic Teut or 
Tuisto : and, in both these words, we recognize one of Buddha's well-known 

' The striking difference between the Gothic and Celtic theologies has been observed and 
pointed out by Bp. Percy and Mr. Pinkcrton, who judiciously expose the gross error of Clu- 
veriusand Pelloutier on that topic. See Pref. to Mallet's North. Ant. and Dissert, on the Goths. 

" These topics are discussed at large in book vi. c. 3. § VI. and c. 4. 

' Lucan. Pharsal. lib. i. ver. 444—446. Lactant. Instit. lib.i. c. 21. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 2 Z 



S62 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

4ooK IV. titles, Tat, Datta, or Twashta. In a similar manner, Taranis is Thor : and 
each of those names, compounded or uncompounded, is equally Tara-Nath, 
another of the titles of Buddha, Hesus, both in name and in character, 
seems to afford the connecting link between the two superstitions. This 
appellation is another of Buddha's titles ; but he bears it, in consequence of 
his being esteemed the same as Siva or Iswara. He is called Esa, Ma- 
Hesa, and Har-Esa, which is properly a name of Siva, the sanguinary 
cruelty of whose imagined character of the destroying power accurately cor- 
responds with that of Hesus.' The identity of Tuisto and Teutates is 
further proved from the circumstance of their being each called by the Latin 
writers Mei'cury. Tacitus says, that the Germans, who were Goths and 
votaries of Woden or Tuisto, worshipped Mercury as their principal deity : 
and Cesar, Minucius Felix, and Livy, agree in saying the same of the Gauls, 
who adored Teutates.* Nor is this assertion thrown out at random, or 
hazarded merely on account of some slight and partial resemblance between 
Teutates and Mercury : this divinity, as we shall presently see, much as his 
dignity has been lowered in classical mythology, was the same character as 
the oriental Buddha. At present I shall only notice the arbitrary coinci- 
dence of the fourth day of the week bearing the name of Buddha among 
the Hindoos, of Woden among the Goths, and of Mercury among the 
Romans. 

2. If the Hindoo religion be taken in a large sense, as including the two 
systems of Brahmenism and Buddhism, Mr. Burrow will be right in his 
assertion, that there are signs of it in every northern country and in almost 
every national mode of worship: but, that the centre whence it overspread 
the whole earth was the high land of Bokhara or the region of mount Meru, 
does not appear to me equally certain. Pure Buddhism was indeed, I be- 
lieve, for the most part carried in various directions from that tract of 
country : but we must look for the primeval origin of both systems to the 
land of Shinar and to the first Scuthic empire under Nimrod. From this 

' Asiat. Res. vol. i. p. 272, 285. vol. viii. p. 355, 359. 

* Tacit, de mor. Germ. c. p. Casar. de bell. Gall. lib. vi. c. 17. Minuc. Fcl. Octav. p. 
295. Liv. Hist. lib. xxvi. c. 44. 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 363 

centre Buddhism and Brahmenism must have been alike carried into the 
west long before the march of the Goths or more modern Scuths from their 
native seats in Casligar. Yet Mr. Burrow maj' not be far mistaken in 
asserting, as an evident and palpable truth, that Stonehenge is a temple 
of Buddha.' In a modified sense, this may safely be admitted. The Celts, 
no less than the Goths, were worshippers of Buddha : but then they wor- 
shipped him much in the same manner as the Hindoos and Egyptians, 
namely by blending his peculiar superstition with that of Brahmenism, 
Buddha, as we liave seen, notwithstanding the violent enmity of the Brah- 
mens to the Buddhists, is yet acknowledged to be an incarnation of Vishnou : 
and, as such, he is confessedly identified with the triple god Brahma-Vishnou- 
Siva ; and is venerated, as the personage described by the mystic monosyl- 
lable Om. In this manner, I apprehend, the chief deity of the old Druids 
may be admitted to be Buddha, and Stonelienge to be a Buddhic temple ; 
but it is in this manner only : for the Celtic theology, though of a mixed 
nature, partook much more largely of Brahmenism than of Buddhism ; the 
very circumstance, which produced the striking difference between it and 
that of the Gothic tribes. 

That such a mixture had taken place in the superstition of Gaul and Bri- 
tain as well as in the idolatry of Hindostan, seems to me to be abundantly 
evident. In addition to the titles Hems, Teutates, and Taranis ; the names 
both of Buddha and of Arhan, and of Man or Mahi-Man, Avere well 
known to the ancient Celts. 

Budd, Buddugre, Bud-Ner, and Buddwas, were varied appellations of 
the principal Celtic god Hu, who was adored in the stupendous circle of 
Stonehenge: consequently, Stonehenge may in this manner be justly said to 
have been a temple of Buddha and a representation of the Sakya-valya or 
mundane ring of Saca.* This divinity, considered as Buddha or Teut, is 
rightly pronounced by Cesar, Minucius Felix, and Livy, to be Mercury or 
Hermes : but, in his Brahmenical character, he is with equal propriety de- 
clared by Diodorus to be Apollo, and by Dionysius to be Liber or Bacchus. 

' Asiat. Res. vol. ii. p. 487, 488. 

* Davies's Mythol. of Brit. Druid, p. ii6, us, 364, 468, 557, 584. 



GHAf. T. 



BOOK IV. 



36ii THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATUY. 

Tlie word Arhan is written by Mr. Davies Arartm, and is not improbably 
supposed by him to denote the arkile god.' The legend of this hero at least 
exactly accords with such a conjecture : for Aravvn is the king of the 
mighty deep, and his wliole story relates immediately to the deluge. Like 
Hu and Buddha, he is the same character as Noah : and consequently he is 
the same in person, and (I believe) also in name, as the oriental Arhao, 

This deity was sometimes called Manon, Menu, or Memvyd.'' Here we 
have the Man, or (when expressed compoundedly) the Mahi-Mau or great 
Man, of the oriental Buddhists. 

The same system of theology prevailed also among the Celts of Ireland, 
and it was accompanied by the use of the same sacred titles. 

General Vallancey assures us, that the ancient Irish were votaries of 
Buddha : and he adduces many proofs of this opinion, which seems to mc 
to be a just one. Bad, Bod, or Bud, was thought to preside over marriage,^ 
and likewise to be the maritime deity of the winds. He was venerated in 
conjunction with Mananan the god of the waters, and Re the Moon : and 
this triad was believed to have the disposal of good and bad weather.' It 
is in fact nothing more than a variation of the Buddhic triad. Bud, consi- 
dered as the great father, was esteemed the masculine president of generar- 
tion, exactly on the same principle that that character was ascribed to Baal- 
Peor, Osiris, and Siva ; and, in his diluvian capacity of the arkite navigator, 
he was obviously made a maritime deity. He and ]\Ian-Anan, whose name 
(we are told) signifies the aquatic Man, are but one person ; precisely as 
the oriental Buddha and jNIahi-Man are one : and this man is the diluvian 
Manes, Menes, Menu, or Mannus, whose name and history have been car- 
ried to evei-y quarter of the globe. The Moon, which is the third person in 
this Irish triad, is largely introduced into the fabulous genealogy of Buddha. 
If a female divinity, the arkite crescent is doubtless intended by it ; if a 
male, Buddha himself is the god Soma or Lunus. Mananan was esteemed 
the son of the sea : nor is it without reason, that such a descent was 

• Davies's Mythol. p. 198, 417, 4S0. 
^ Ibid. p. 584., 228, 428, 176, 568. 

^ Orient. Collect, vol. ii, numb. i. p. 18, 19. Collect, de leb. Hibern. vol. iii. numb. x. 
prcf. p. 49. vol. iv. numb. xiv. p. 491, 509. 



THE OKIUIN OF PAGAN IDOLiVtKY. 365 

ascribed to him ; for he is the same as that Mai)i-Man or Buddha or Menu, "'^f- ▼• 
who was preserved in an arli at the time of the general deluge. 

The name Tat or Tath or 7'ak was as well known to the ancient Irish as 
Bud and 3fan. Tat is the same as the Hindoo Tat or Datta and the 
Egyptian Thoth or Taut. This point is established, not merely by the 
identity of title, but by a curious coincidence of an arbitrary nature. 
The first month of the Egyptians, which commenced on the calends of 
August, was called 'T/iolh in honour of the deity of that name : and the first 
day of August was, for a similar reason, called by the old Irish la Tat. 
This god was supposed by them to preside over the harvest.' He was the 
same as the agricultural Jupiter, Bacchus, Osiris, and Deo-Naush; or as 
the prototype of all those kindred divinities, Noah the husbandman. 

Another of the titles of Buddha is Saman or Soviono : and this likewise 
was familiar to tlic pagan inhabitants of Ireland. Buddha, considered as 
Menu-Satyavrata, is the god of obsequies, agreeably to the univei-sal 
notion of the Gentiles, that the arkite god had descended into Hades and 
was the principal infernal deity. Such accordingly is. the character of the 
Irish Saman, Sanihan, or Shamhna. He was esteemed the lord of death, 
and the judge of departed spirits. His festival occurred in the month of 
November, -ivhcn sacrifices of black sheep were offered to him for the souls 
of the deceased.* But this infernal divinity was likewise a sea-god ; just as 
the infernal Menu or Buddha flourished at; the time of the deluge, and was 
preserved in a large ark. Traces of liis worship, such is the strong hold 
that primeval superstition lays on the human mind, still remain both in Ire- 
land and in the western isles of Scotland. At the time of his festival, which 
coincides with the Popish feast of All-Souls, the peasants ^vade into the sea 
for the purpose of searching for the head of this god, whose name they 
have corrupted from Shamna into Shout/.* One of them bears a cup of 
ale, which he throws into the water, after invocating the demon to send 

' Collect, de reb. Hiberii. vol. iii. numb. xii. p. 469i ^70. vol. iv. numb. xiii. p. 43. 
Orient. Collect, vol. ii. numb. i. p. 18, 19. 

* To this Cimmerian or Celtic Pluto, Homer accurately describes Ulysses, as sacrificing a 
black ram. Odyss. lib. xi. 

' The reason, why the feast of All-Souls was appointed to supersede the festival of the 
infernal Saman, is sufficiently obvious. . 



366 THE ORIOIN or PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BooKtv. abundance of sea-ware to enrich their ground during the ensuing year. This 
ceremony, as was the case with the ancient Mysteries, is performed in the 
night-time. They then proceed to the church : and, having extinguished 
a burning candle which had been placed upon tlie communion-table, they 
spend the rest of the night in drinking, dancing, and singing.' 

S. It often happens, that local names survive the shock both of political 
and theological revolutions, and thus continue to attest to the remotest ages 
the religion of former days. There is reason to believe, that something of 
this nature has occurred in several instances within the limits of the present 
British dominions. 

Plutarch speaks of a certain traveller named Demetrius, whose curiosity 
had led him to visit the most distant extremities of Scotland. He described 
that part of the country as being surrounded by a great number of scattered 
and desert islets ; and he added, that some of these were expressly called the 
islands of the demons and heroes venerated by the natives.^ His account I 
believe to have been perfectly accurate : and it enables us to produce a very 
singular proof of the ancient prevalence of Buddhism among the Celts. Of 
these sacred isles, which in the time of Demetrius were designated by the 
titles of the British demon-gods, four still bear the denominations of Bute, 
Arran, Ila, and Skye. Now, when the direct attestation of the traveller 
is considered, on the one hand ; and the existence among the Celts of the 
titles Budwas, Budd, Arawn, Teutates, and Taranis, on the other hand : 
we can scarcely doubt, that those four islands were so called in honour of 
Buddha, Arhan, Ila the arkite consort of Buddha, and Saca or Sakya. In 
a similar manner, it is the ancient tradition of the Irish and the Manx, that 
Man-Anan or the aquatic Man, who is described as being the son of the 
ocean and whom I have identified with the Hindoo Mahi-Man or Menu, 
settled in the isle of Man, and thence conferred his name upon it.' Each 
of these was in fact a holy island ; or, in the language of the bards, a 
sanctuary surrounded by the sea : each represented tiie mundane Ark : 

' Collect, de reb. Ilibcrn. vol. iii. numb. xii. p. 449, 460. 

* O Je Ai;jxi;rf(i}f sifrj twv te^i Tijv BicrTccviacv ynjirwv Eivai tfsXAaj t^t^^Wi CTt0^a,iu,Si w}* 
jvtaj JaijOtOKwy xai -f^qtuMv oyo,aa?eo-6a(. Plut. de defect, orac. 
^ Collect, de reb. Hibeni. vol. iv. numb. xiv. p. 509, 



THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 367 

each was considered as the residence of the deified patriarchs : and each *"'*'• ^'* 
bore the titles, by which the great father or his mystic consort were distin- 
guislied. ' 

XII. We have just seen, that in the Celtic festival of Samana, which is 
still superstitiously observed in the western isles of Scotland, the head of the 

' Such sacred isles, devoted to the celebration of the funereal Mysteries, have given rise to 
many wild tales yet extant among the Welsh and the Irish. 

Gavran, Cadwallon, and Gwcnddolau, were the heads, we are told, of the three faithful 
tribes of Britain. The family of Gavran obtained that title by accompanying him to sea to 
discover some islands, which, by a traditionary memorial, were known by the name of Tht 
Green Islands of the ocean. This expedition was not heard of afterwards ; and the situation 
of the islands became lost to the Britons. Camb. Biog. The legend is closely allied to the 
voyage of Merlin and his bards in the boat of glass, and to the abreption of Arthur by the 
Lady Morgana to the delights of an insular fairy-land. It originated from the circumstance 
of some aspirants being cast away, while undergoing the process of the navicular initiation 
into the Mysteries. See below book v. c. 6. § VIII. 4. (4.) 

These Green Islands are thought to be the abode of the Fair Family ; which consists of the 
souls of those virtuous Druids, who cannot enter the Christian heaven and therefore enjoy this 
heaven of their own. In their better moods they often come over the ocean, and carry the 
Welsh in their boats. He, who visits their holy islands, imagines on his return that he has 
been absent only a few hours ; when, in reality, whole centuries have passed away. We have 
here a variation of the wonderful story told by Tzetzes respecting an instantaneous voyage of 
the dead from the coast of Gaul to that of Britain. See above book ii. c. 3. J I. 

If you take a turf from St. David's church-yard, and stand upon it on the sea-shore; you 
may behold the Green Islands. An adventurer, we are assured, once actually reached them 
by the happy contrivance of placing the turf in his boat and using it as a footstool. This tale 
relates to the artificial floating islands covered with green turf, which make so prominent a 
figure in the ritual of the pagans. See below book v. c. 7. § I. 3. 

Similar notions prevail among the Irish. They have a tradition, that great part of the north 
of Ireland was. swallowed up by an inundation of the sea, but that the submerged regions 
often arise out of the waves and become visible to those who unite together the two indispen- 
sable qualifications of a strong sight and a strong faith. These regions are sometimes 
esteemed an inchantcd Par<idibiaciil island, and at other times are described as a wonderful 
city floating upon the waves. The connection of the legend with the old Druidical supersti- 
tion is sufficiently apparent from the popular belief, that the magical key of this navicular city, 
which once contained within its compass all the riches of the world, lies buried beneath some 
one of the rock temples. I need scarcely observe, that the prototype of the city or island was 
the Ark. See Southey's Madoc. vol. ii. p. 146 — 149. 



368 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRV. 

liOftK IV. lost god was sought for in the sea. The notion, that the head of the great 
diluvian father was peculiarly set afloat, has extended itself very widely : 
and, as it is of a nature altogether arbitrary, it thence tends to prove the 
point for which I specially argue; namely the common origination of the 
various systems of pagan mythology. 

1 . Thus in Egypt a papyrine vessel was yearly made to represent the 
head of Osiris ; which, being cast into the waves, was thought to be carried 
in the course of seven days to the shores of Phenicia. When it reached its 
destination, rejoicings were made over the lost divinity as being found again ; 
just as the votaries of Samana concluded their search for his head with riotous 
mirth and debauchery.' 

2. Thus also we meet with a similar legend respecting a head among the 
Romans; which together with the name of the deity to whom it belonged, 
they most probably borrowed from that ancient and remarkable people the 
Tuscans. The god himself was called Summnnus or (omitting the Latin 
termination) Summan : and both his name and his character prove him to be 
no other than the oriental Suman or Buddha, the Samana or Shamhnaof the 
Irish Celts. The Romans, who, like the Greeks, were fond of resolving 
foreign words into their own language, fancied, that Summanus was so called 
from his \:ie.mgSummus Manium or tlie Prince of the Manes.'' S uch no doubt 
was his character ; for he was certainly the diluvian god of obsequies : but, 
since we find the principal infernal deity called by the same appellation both 
among the Hindoos, the Cingalese, the Burmas, and the Celts, the etymology 
of that appellation cannot be reasonably sought for in the Latin tongue. 
Ovid says, that the worship of Summan Mas first introduced among the 
Romans, when they were threatened by the arms of Pyrrhus ; which seems 
to confirm the opinion, that it was borrowed from their neighbours the Tus- 
cans : yet he expresses himself as being ignorant of the character of the god.' 
An inscription however, preserved by Grater, identifies him with Pluto : and 
a curious fable, detailed by Cicero, sufficiently proves his close connection 
with the Celtic Samana and the Egyptian Osiris. He says, that, xvhen the 

' Luc. de dea Syra. Procop. in Esaiam. c. xviii. apud Selden. See Plate I. Fig. 12. 
* Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. ii. c. 52. lib. xxix. c. 4. 
^ Ovid. Fast. lib. vi. ver. 731, 732. 



THE ORIOIM OT PAGAN ICOLATRT. 369 

earthen image of Summan was cast down from heaven, and when his head sbif. r. 
could no M here be found, the soothsayers declared it to have fallen into the 
Tiber ; and, accordingly, it was discovered in the precise place which they 
pointed out.' 

XIII. Pursuing to the extreme limits of the west our inquiries after the 
worship of Buddha, we have been led to pass from the Goths and Celts to 
the Romans, and to conclude that the Summan of the latter is no other than 
the Suman, Saman, or Somona, of the orientals. Cut I am inclined to 
think, that Summan is by no means the only classical deity, in whose v\orship 
we may recognize the old Taautic superstition. 

One of the names of Buddha is Jain or Jain-Esa : and it has been amply 
shewn by Sir William Jones, that the mythology of Italy was substantially 
the same as that of Hindostan. Such being the case, it seems highly pro- 
bable, that the oriental Jain ought to be identified with the western Janus; 
whose worship, like that of Suman, the Romans apparently horro- ed from 
the Etruscans or ancient Latins. To this opinion I am equally led by simi- 
larity of appellation, and by unity of character. Janus, when the Latin 
termination is omitted, is the same word as Jain : and both Jain and Janus 
are alike the transmigrating great father. But Janus is not only the great 
father, according to that universal manner, in which all the chief gods of 
Paganism thus ultimately resolve themselves : like Buddha, he stands insu- 
lated as it were from the reigning superstition ; and his worship appears rather 
to have been superadded to it, than to have formed an originally constituent 
part of it. Of this circumstance Ovid was fully conscious : whence he asks 
not unnaturally, in what light he ought to consider the god Janus; since the 
theology of the Greeks, which was radically that of the Romans, acknow- 
ledged no such divinity.' Yet, though like Jain or Buddha he stands de- 
tached from the great family of classical gods ; his history sufficiently proves, 
that, like that oriental deity, he is the same character as Noah. 

1. He was supposed, at a very remote period, to have passed over into 

• Platoni Summano, aliisque Hit Stygiis. Grut. Inscrip. fol. 10J5. Cicer. de div. Jib. n 
€. 10. 

» 0»id. Fast. lib. i. vcr. 89i 90. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 3 A 



370 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATHy. 

Italy; of wliich country, in conjunction with the aboriginal Cameses, he 
obtained the sovereignty. Here he received Saturn ; who, after wandering 
over the whole world, debarked at length from his ship and brought his 
tedious voyage to a successful termination on the coast of Tuscany. Some 
say, that Janus received from this god instructions in the art of agriculture, 
and that through gratitude he admitted him into a copartnership of empire : 
but, however that may be, precisely the sanje actions are attributed to him, 
as the Greeks ascribed to Dionusus, and the Egyptians to Osiris. He was 
the first institutor of civil polity. He flourished at so distant a period, that 
it was a matter of doubt, whether he were a demon or a king. He brought 
mankind from a rude and barbarous mode of life to submit to the laws of 
order and civilization. He was their instructor in agriculture. He was the 
first, that built temples to the gods, and ordained the sacred rites of religion. 
He reigned in those early days, when the deities freely mixed with mortals, 
and when their presence on the earth was a thing common and familiar ; when 
the frequency of crimes had not yet chased justice from the world ; when a 
decent sense of shame supplied the place of legal restraint; and when war 
and rapine were yet unknown.' 

The rest of his history exactly corresponds with this primeval character. 
In the ancient songs of the Salii he was celebrated, not as some obscure 
local divinity, but as the god of gods.* He was called Consiviiis, as being 
the universal parent of mankind.' To him was attributed the beginning and 
the end of all things.* He was invoked as the general father, as tlie parent 
of the Universe, as the beginning of the several hero-gods.' The charge of 
the whole world was assigned to him : and, as Osiris is sometimes identified 
with Typhon or the deluge, and as the ocean is said to be one of the forms 
of Siva ; so we are told by Ovid, that the ancient mythologists designated 
Janus by the name of Chaos.^ Under this title they jointly referred him to 
the era of the creation and the deluge : for, as every part of his character 

' Plut. in vit. Num. Pint. Quaest. Rom. p. 269. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 7- p. 151. 
Ovid. Fast. lib. i. v. 233, 234, 247—253. Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 9- ?• 157. 
* Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. e.g. p. 159- ' Ibid. 

Albric. Philos. de deor. imag. c. xiv. p. 317. ' Versic. Septim. Seren. Falisc. 



4 



Ovid. Fast, lib i. ver. 103, 117—120. 



THK ORIGIN OF PAGAX IDOLATRY. 371 

abundantly shews, he was the primeval transmigrating great father ; that is ^"'^' 
to say, Noah viewed as a reappearance of Adam. 

2. In the mythologic composition, however, of the great father, Noah 
seems to have predominated. Hence we generally find him in some manner 
connected with a story of a ship and a voyage. 

The coins of Janus exhibited on one side the double face of the god, and 
on the reverse either a ship or the stern or prow of a ship. j\facrobius and - 
Ovid say, that this device was adopted to commemorate the arrival of the 
ship of Saturn : but Plutarch is not satisfied with the solution ; and still 
inquires, why such a symbol should adorn the medals of Janus.' In fact, if 
Saturn be esteemed a distinct character from Janus, the device of the ship 
ought rather to have been stamped on the coins of the former than on those 
of the latter ; and this not improbably produced the question, which is asked 
by Plutarch : but Saturn, and Janus, and Cameses, were all equally and 
properly that first navigator, who was the king and the instructer of an infant 
world. The true reason, in short, why the coins of Janus exhibited the 
impression of a ship, may best be collected from what Athenfeus tells us 
respecting him. He says, that he was the first inventor of barks and ships ; a 
circumstance, which at once accounts for the reverse of his medals, and 
points out with sufficient clearness his real character. * Accordingly, in his 
aboriginal chapel he had an ancient ark, as we learn from Septimius Serenus ; 
much in the same manner, I apprehend, as Dionusus, Osiris, Adonis, 
Siva, Hu, or Mexitli.' Yet, although Saturn, Janus, and Cameses, be 
severally Noah ; still, when associated together as partners in empire, they 

• Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 7. p. 151, 152. Ovid. Fast. lib. i. ver. 229— 242. Plut. 
Quaest. Rom. p. 274. These medals of Janus seem to have been very common : for Maero- 
bius mentions a play among children exactly similar to one, which prevails in this country 
even to the present day. They threw the coin up into the air; and, before it fell to the 
ground, crisd out after the manner of a wager. Heads or ships. 
^ Athen. Dcipnos. lib. xv. p. 6^2. 
' Jane Pater, — 

O cate rerum sator, O principium dcoruro, 
Tibi vetus area caluit in aborigine© sacello. 

Vcrsic. Septim. Seren. Falisc. 



372 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

BOOK IV. seem further to shadow out that sacred triad, so famous both in the Brahme- 
nical and Buddhic systems of theolopy. 

Agreeably to his diiuvian character, Janus was called Junonius from the 
sjoddcss Juno : whose name Mr. Bryant resolves into Junth, which sifrnifies a 
dovt ; and who is decidedly pronounced by Mr. Wilford to be the same as 
the Hindoo female principle Voni or Kw/zi, which at the time of the flood 
successively assumed the forms of the ship Argha and the dove Capoteswari,' 
Hence he has not only his ship or ark, but he is likewise attended by a dove: 
for, on the reverse of some of his coins, that bird appears, either holding a 
branch in its bill, or. surrounded with a chaplet of olive leaves. * 

He was further thought to be the governor of the mystic Hades ; and was 
believed to have the power of opening and shutting the door, by which it 
was approached.' This part of his character relates, I have no doubt, to 
the door in the side of the Ark, through which Noah and his family issued from 
the reputed regions of death and darkness to those of light and life. Hence 
the altars of Janus were placed before the doors of his temples, to shew that he 
presided, as Macrobius observes, over entrance and exit: hence also he was 
called Patulcius and Clusius, or the god of optn'mg and shutting : and 
hence, considered as the solar Apollo, he bore the title of Thyreus or the 
divinity of the door.* 

Similar to this was a name of the great mother of the hero-gods. She 
was called Prothyrea or the goddess before the door : and, from the circum- 
stance of the quitting of the Ark being considered as the birth of the Noetic 
divinities, she was esteemed the female president of generation. Prothyrea 
was the same as Diana, or Venus, or Juno, or Lucina ; each of whom was 
similarly accounted the goddess of parturition.' She was immediately and 
naturally connected with Janus, the god of the door : and she then assumed 
from him tiie appellation of Jana. I apprehend, that Jana and Diana are 
really the same name : for Diana appears to be nothing more than a com- 

' ISlacrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. £). p. 159. 

* See a plate representing such coins from Gorlaeus, Spanheim, and Paruta, in Bryant's 
Anal. vol. ii. p. 260, 

' Macrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. y. p. 158. Arnob. adv. gent. lib. iii. 

♦ JMacrob. Saturn, lib. i. c. 9. p. 158, 159. ' Orph. Hymn. i. 



TH£ ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 373 

pound word, denoting the divine Jana. At any rate, we are informed by *^"*''' '• 
Nigidius, that Jana is the same person as Diana, just as Janus is the same 
character as Apollo : that is to say, they are astronomically the Sun and the 
Moon, though literally Noah and the Ark.' Janus and Jana in short are 
the great father and tlie great mother, celebrated by the ancient mythologists 
under so many dificrent names. 

XIV. Janus appears to have been sometimes called Vadimon or Vandi' 
mon, particularly by the inhabitants of Tuscany : for we are told, that Va- 
dimon is the same as Janus- Vertumnus.* 

The Etruscan fragn)ent, said to have been found by Inghiram, in which 
Vadimon is at once declared to be Janus and to be the same person as he 
whom the Syrians call Noa, can scarcely perhaps be cited as genuine : nor 
do I know what authority Annius of Viterbo had for putting into the mouth 
of the spurious Myrsilus an assertion, that the ancient Tuscans alone wor- 
shipped Janus and Vesta, whom in their peculiar dialect they called Janib- 
Vadimon and Labith-Horclua} The forgeries of that writer certainly con- 
tain much curious matter, much also that undesignedly has been established 
as truth by the inquiries of more recent authors. This at least is certain, 
that one of the Tuscan lakes, now called Lago di Bassanello, formerly 
bore the name of Vadimon : and, in bearing such an appellation, it suffi- 
ciently shews both the character of the deity and the nature of the worship 
which was paid to him. Among the ancient mythologists a lake was a sym- 
bol of the deluge; and an island, of the Ark. Sometimes the island was 
believed to float : and it is probable, that in many instances it really did float; 
for tliey seem very frequently to have constructed an artiflcial one, framed of 
timber-work and covered with turf. Whether such was absolutely the case 
with the islands in the lake of Vadimon, I shall not pretend to determine : 
but, according to the account which Pliny gives of it, several islets, covered 
with reeds and rushes, and in form resembling ships, floated upon its bosom; 
while the lake itself was esteemed sacred, doubtless to the god whose 
name it bore.* 

' Maciob. Saturn, lib. i. c. J), p. 158. 

* Vadimon, Janus- Vertumnus. See a catalogue of Etruscan words in Collect, de rcb. 
Ilibern. vol. iii. numb. XII. p. 633, 

* Myrsil. de bell. Pelasg. c. vi. * Plin. Epist. lib. viii. cpist. 20, 



BOOK IV. 



374 THE ORIGIN OF PAGA>f IDOLATRY. 

As I have conjectured that Janus is the same divinity as Jain or Buddlia ; 
so I am in some measure disposed to think, that the conjecture is strength- 
ened by the name Vadimon. It is certainly an old Tuscan appellation ; but 
the question is, whence the Etrurians themselves borrowed it. I suspect it 
to be an oriental title imported by the wandering Pelasgi, who seem to have 
been a tribe of the Indo-Scythic Palli and who early settled in Italy: for it is 
apparently no other than the name Bad or Buddha in composition with 
Mon or Man. Among the many variations of that name we find Bod, Bad, 
fVod and IVad. Now the syllable F<5f</, in Vadimon, is the same syllable as 
Bad or JVad ; whether they be really connected together in point of origin 
or not: and the syllable Mon or Alan is a well-known title of Buddha, who 
is sometimes called Mahi-Man or the great Man. In addition therefore 
to identity of character, Vadimon affords a double coincidence of name, 
because it compounds together two of the titles of Buddlia. I would not 
however lay any undue stress upon this derivation. Though I think it not an 
improbable one, I wish to build my system upon facts rather than upon 
words. 

XV. There is another ancient Latin or Etruscan deity of a very singular 
character, with whom Janus is closely connected, and whom I am inclined 
to esteem the same as that god and therefore the same as Buddha. 

We are told, that the beginning and the end of all things were ascribed 
to Janus. This however was not invariably the case : for sometimes Janus 
was reckoned to preside over the beginning, and Terminus over the end." 
Terminus was esteemed the god of justice, and the preserver of peace be- 
tween man and man ; in which capacity he was aptly made to preside over 
boundaries and landmarks. His original sacrifices were bloodless, Numa 
deeming it incongruous to the character of such a deity to offer him any thing 
that had life.* In most of these particulars he so closely resembles Buddha, 
that I am led at once to believe them the same, and to conjecture that the 
very appellation of Terminus is borrowed from a title of the oriental deity. 
The Buddhists think it impious to venerate their god with sanguinary oblations ; 
an idea, which naturally arose from the doctrine of the Metempsychosis : 

' August, do civ. Dei. lib. iii. c. 7- * Plut. in vit. Num. 



THE OKXOIN Ol' PAGAN IDOLATUV. 375 

and, in his character of the god of justice, his followers call him Dherma- 
Rajah ; a name, which he bore, as that just Menu who was preserved in 
an ark at the time of the deluge. From this coincidence of attributes, joined 
with the now established position that the theology of Greece and Italy is the 
theology of India, it is not unreasonable to guess, that Terminus is the com- 
pound Dher7n-Menu written after the manner of the Latins. 

But I have not yet mentioned all the circumstantial coincidences between 
the character of Terminus and that of Buddha. 

Somono-Codom or Buddha is frequently represented by nothing except 
a large black stone : and this mode of exhibiting both the great father and 
the great mother has spread itself over an amazing extent of country.' Such 
was the primeval form of Terminus : and to this form, as consecrated by 
Nunia in the Capitol, Virgil, if the criticism of Lactantius be just, alludes 
when he speaks of the immoveable stone of that famous citadel.' The 
epithet, which the poet applies to the stone, renders it probable that the 
criticism is just. When Tarquin wished to build a temple to Jupiter within 
the precincts of the Capitol, his project was impeded by the numerous cha- 
pels dedicated to different gods. They were severally consulted, whether 
they would give place to Jupiter: but, when all the others yielded a ready 
assent, Teiminus remained immoveable, and kept possession of his temple 
with the sovereign of the deities himself.' 

It is a curious circumstance, that Terminus was thought to be the stone, 
which Saturn swallowed instead of Jupiter.'* This stone was called Betylus : 
and its name evidently connects the worship of Terminus with the old 
Betulian rock-worship, which in fact was the worship of Buddha.' 

In the Phenician mythology, Betylus was the brother of Cronus, Dagon, 
and Atlas : and their parent Uranus is said to have contrived stones called 
Betulia, which possessed the power of motion as if they were instinct with 
life.* These were most probably sacred rocking stones, M'hich were held in 

' Maurice's Iml. Ant. vol. iii. p. 31. Anc. Hist, of Ind. vol. ii. p. 481. 

* Ovid. Fast. lib. ii. vcr. 641. Tibull. Eleg. lib. i. elcg. 1. ver. 12. Lactant. Instit. lib, i. 
c. 20. Virg. .Emicl. lib. ix. vcr. 448. 

^ Lactant. Instit. lib. i. c. 20. Ovid. Fast. lib. ii. ver. 666— 67O. 

* Lactant. Instit. lib. i.e. 20. ' Hesych. Lex. 
' Euseb. Prasp. Evan. lib. i. c. 10. 



376 THE OUIOIN OF PAGAN IDOLATHV. 

BOOK IT. high veneration in the Druidical superstition. Terminus then is clearly the 
same person as Betylus ; not only because a stone was tlie form under which 
each of them was worshipped, but because Terminus is expressly declared 
to be the stone which Saturn swallowed in lieu of Jupiter and which itself 
bore the appellation of Betylus. 

That this Betylus however was the same as Buddha may be inferred, not 
only from his form, but likewise from his name and his genealogy, 

I once thought with Bochart, that Betylus was the scriptural compound 
Bdh-El or the house of God: but I have now my doubts as to the propriety 
of such a derivation. Betylus w as indeed represented by a stone pillar : 
but yet, like Terminus, he is spoken of as a god, not as a place of worship. 
The Greeks expressed the word Baitulos : and, however the Phenicians 
might write it, it certainly appears to be a compounded title. Now we 
have already seen, that, among the various modes in which the name 
Buddha is pronounced, one is Bat, Bait, or Baiuth. We have also seen 
that his consort is Ila : w hence, even if we knew not that Ila is a masculine as 
well as a feminine title, we uiight infer, according to the analogy of ancient 
Paganism, that one of his appellations must be // or Ilus. Such circum- 
stances render the conjecture probable, that Baitulos or Betylus is in reality 
the name Bait or Buddha with the title // suffixed to it. This last title was 
well known to the Indo-Scythic Phenicians: and thty bestowed it on the 
person, whom the Greek translator of Sanchoniatho denocninates Cronus.^ 
The state of the question in short, with respect to the etymology of Betylus, 
is this. We know, that Buddha was worshipped under the symbol of a 
large stone : and we likewise know, that his name is frequently pronounced 
Bat or Bait, and that one of his titles is // or Ila. Under such circum- 
stances, we are told, that the stone, which represented Terminus or Buddha, 
was called Baitylus: for this is the express assertion of Laclantius. Now, 
since Baitylus was the appellation of the stone which syuibolized Budd-Ila, 
it is surely more reasonable to suppose that it borrowed its name from the 
god whom it confessedly represented, than to imagine that it ought to be 
derived from the action of a Hebrew patriarch who was a worshipper not of 

' Euseb. Prap. Evan. lib. i. c. JO. 



THE OUIGIN OF PAGAX IDOI-ATRY. 377 

Buddha but of Jehovah. At any rate, the stone Baitylus was certainly the '«*''• 
symbol of the god J5ail-Ila.' 

Though Betyius is described as being the brother of Dagon, Cronus, and 
Atlas ; they are all one person, all equally the transmigrating gi-eat father 
with whom every new world commences. This person tlie classical writers 
would indifferently call Cronus and Jupiler. Hence we find, that the fish- 
god Dagon, who, in allusion to another part of the history of Noah, was 
esteemed the patron of agriculture, is said by the Greek translator of San- 
choniatho to be the same as Jupiter-Arotrius : and hence we likewise find, 
that Terminus or Betyius, though his office was latterly confined to the 
guardianship of boundaries, was in reality no other than Jupiter himself. 
One of the names of this deity was TerminaUs ; and he was thought, like 
Terminus, to preside over landmarks.. Accordingly, while we are told by 
Lactantius, Ovid, and Plutarch, that Terminus was the god to whom Noma 
dedicated landmarks : we are informed by Dionysius of Halicarnassus, that 
that gud was Jupiter-Tcniiinalis ; and by Cicero, that one of the most 
solemn oaths was by Jupiter the stone.* When Jupiter was venerated 
uudei this tbrin, he was called Cappotas : a title, which again brings us 
back to Buddha ; for tlie name oi that god is frequently pronounced 
Pout or Fat or Poti, and the compound Cappotas will denote the illustrious 
Pout.' 

XVI. With respect to Dagon, his form was so precisely that of the Chal- 
dean Oannes and of the Indian Vishnou in the fish Avatar, exhibiting, to 
use the language of the Buddhists, the sovereign prince Buddha issuing out 
of the belly of tne hieroglyphical fish, that we, cannot for a moment doubt 
his identity v\ith each of those deities. His worship seems to have been 
brought into Palestine by the Indo-Scythic Phenicians, when they migrated 
westward from Babylonia and the confines of Hindostan ; that large tract 
of country, designated by the appellations of the oriental Ethiopia and 
Cusha-dwip within, 

' Lactant. Instif. lib. i. c. 20. p. 1 11, 112. Bochart. Canaan, lib. ii. c. 0. p. 707- 
" Dion. Haiic. Ant. Rom. lib. ii. Epist. ad famil. Ep. ad Trebat. 
' Piius. Lacon. p. 204. Asiat. Res. vol. vi. p. 260. 

Pag. Idol. VOL. II. 3 B 



HOOK It, 



878 THE ORIGIN OF PAGAN IDOLATRY. 

1. The Oannes of the Chaldfeans is feigned to have emerged from the 
Erythr^an sea in the mingled form of a man and a fish, and to have been 
the instructor of a new race in every useful art. We are told, that four of 
these mermen successively appeared, or rather, I apprehend, that the same 
merman exhibited himself at four different times ; and that, under one of 
his manifestations, he bore the name of Dacon.' In this legend we may 
evidently trace the doctrine of a transmigrating great father, appearing at the 
commencement of each mundane system after he had floated on the surface 
of the intervening deluge : and it is almost superfluous to observe, that 
Oannes-Dacon is palpably the Pliiiist^an and Phenician Dagon. Each 
Oannes was likewise called Annedot. It is not unlikely, as Dacon is the 
same title as Dagon, that Oannes is the same as Jain-Esa, and Annedot as 
Jain-Dot ov Jain-Datta. All these are appellations of Buddha: so that 
both the names and the character of the Babylonian or Philistean god clearly 
identify him with that ancient Indo-Scythic divinity.* 

2. Equally well known is the title Dagon in the regions which lie to 
the east of Babel. The word itself signifies the fish On or Om : the first 
syllable of it being the Chaldean Dag ; and the second, the mystic name 
of the triplicated great father venerated in tlie Sun. 

Some of the temples of Buddha, which are constructed in the figure of a 
dome or egg surmounted by a pyramid, are still called Daghope and Dogon} 
And this mode of designating them is perfectly agreeable to the principles of 
old mythology. The Ark was symbolized by a fish, and was considered in 
the light of a temple : whence, Paganism being for the most part founded on 
a commemoration of the deluge, tlic ten)ples of the diluvian gods were ge- 
nerally copies of llie mundane Ark or ship of Noah. 

Dogon however is not only the name of the temple, but likewise of the 
god Buddha himself, agreeably to his character of the sovereign prince in 
the belly of the fish. Hamelton speaks of two temples in Pegu,, one of the 
principal seats of the Buddhic superstition, which so much resembled each 

' The Greek translator, by prefixing the article, has changed Dacon into Odacon : but the 
oriental name of the god was clearly Dacon or Dagun. 
'■ Syncell. Chronog. p. 29. Euseb. Chron. p. 5. 
^ Asiat. He*, vol. vi. p. 431. Purch. Pilgr. b, v. c. 4. p. 468. See Plate III. Fig. 23. 



THE OaiGIX OF PAGAN IDOLATKV. 379 

Other in structure that they seemed to be built by the same model. The 
former of them stands in a lofty situation, and is called Kiaki-Jck or the 
temple of Kiaki : the hitter is built in a low plain, and is called the temple of 
Daouii. The doors and windows of the one are always open : and every 
body has free permission to see the gigantic image of the deity within ; m hich 
is sixty fee.t long, reclines in a sleeping posture, and is supposed to have 
lain in that state of deep repose six millenaries. But of the other the 
doors and windows are always shut, so that none can enter except the 
priests. These refuse to describe the precise shape of Dagun ; and only 
say, that his form is not human. They teach, that, when Kiaki awakes, the 
world is anaihilated ; but that out of its fragments Dagun will form a new 
one.' The import of this superstition can scarcely be mistaken. Kiaki and 
Dagun represent the great father in his two characters of the destroyer and 
the renovator of the woild : and the mysterious opening and closing of the 
doors of their respective tem[)les seem to be founded on notions similar to 
those, which form the basis of the worship of Janus. The sleep of Kiaki is 
the famous allegorical sleep of the transmigrating patriarch : and the colos- 
sal mode of representing him, as well as his posture of repose, would leave 
us no room to doubt of his being the same as Buddha, even if his name 
Kiaki or Sakya and the country in which he is worshipped did not sutficiently 
decide the point His companion Dagun is a mere reduplication of himself: 
for he is certainly the Dae or Dak-Po of the Thibetians ; and Dak-Po is equi- 
valent to Dag- Pout or Dag-Buddha. This Dak-Po is said to be the father of 
Bhavani ; who floated on the deluge in the form of the ship Argha, and who was 
the universal mother of the hero-gods : and there is a notion, that he presides 
over a celestial mansion called Doca; by which we ought, I think, to understand 
the arkite Moon.* It may be observed, that in one of the temples of Ceylon 
there is a colossal statue of Buddha eighteen cubits long, which appears in the 
same sleeping posture as the statue of Kiaki described by Hamelton.' Doubt- 

" Hamelton's Ace. of the East Ind. vol. ii. p. 57. See also Syraes'j Embass. to Ava. vol. 
ii.p. 110. 

•